Borges, I walked a generous and slow compass around the old church:
A fisherman's church, built with narrow windows.
I was lonesome all day, walking alone in the far north,
Gulls danced sideways at my feet,
My white cane tapped the cobblestones.
It was summer but you wouldn't know it.
I walked my circle.
Old women sold lingonberries to laughing children.
A dog was barking at Swedish ghosts.
Years ago, twenty, precisely,
I phoned the Finnish poet Saarikoski
He was in Sweden,
Reagan was planning to "nuke" The East—
I called the dying poet
to talk about Minotaurs.
Snakes under foot. Crows in a cage…
The Boolean Algebra of Palestrina…
Heraclitus and Greek vowels…
And the hot, little abacus
Of syllabic Finno-Ugrian jazz…
Saarikoski got on the line.
"Maybe we will meet one day in this mad world," he said.
Today I traced a clean circle with my feet
Though I didn't see the city in which I walked.
I thought of the candles in Turku's stoic church, candles cold as glass, even in summer.