First Day in Finland


The house is canopied in green,
and the rain doesn’t fall to the ground.
It sifts through the leaves,
making a hollow sound
as it falls on the ferns and gooseberry bushes
that are under the eaves
and the dripline of the trees.
I can hear the roots drinking and swelling,
grateful for the cool rain
that feeds them—
rain from the Baltic Sea that keeps me inside
against Grandma’s windowsill
with damp morning glory clinging to the window panes
and a whole country waiting outside.
I’m stuck in the white-washed cottage,
filled with the warm breath of blueberry tarts
and music from 1950s Hollywood playing in the dining room.
Grandma is at the table, humming
and making cloth bodies
for the heads, hands, and feet
made of clay and spread out on the table
like a doll’s morgue.
The Finnish/English dictionary sits open
on the table next to my Grandma.
I sit down across from her—
she smiles.
I relate to the gooseberry bushes
And love rain.

Photo by Lane V. Erickson; do not copy