DSQ > Spring 2008, Volume 28, No.2

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…

James Joyce

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.

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