Eino Koskenniemi
Cygnus flies low over Gloucester,
the trawlers passed Portland light at noon.
Nineteen hours have forecast wet weather
and Vega curves dimly down Folly Cove.
The helmsman, Eino Koskenniemi, sails north-northeast
toward the pine gray foam off Nova Scotia.
Sister Aila; sister Katri; sleeping
in linen and wool, you hear no waves,
no ram's horn fog, feel no lean spikes of rain.
You don't see the loud heroes debating;
Lemminkäinen! Väinämöinen! Fling him
your sky shields! The sea breaks the back
of his boat; he hovers, stumbling in salt clouds
and drops, crushed in the waves' disorder.
Slowly he falls below the swaying surfaces
of moss. The gulls call after him; hunting
small animals, they pick at his ceiling of water.
Five days the coast guard will sail and find nothing;
an honest report will be issued by their officers,
and his family will adjust the rooms of their house.
But his son will join the fishermen, and learn
to clean the pike into a fine boned harp;
letting the sea make songs, a sung mosaic
of the bright shell tiles add gristle fragments
covering the wide floors of the ocean rooms;
giving patterns to the hunters and their ancient fight
among the buried constellations of the sea.

© 1999, 2000 Grace Solomonoff