ReapingA little distance between our skin
is allowed as we walk the pumpkin rows.
The rain’s pattering calls us out,
a murmuring distraction.
Soil clogs our boots,
carrying its own dank perfume
of leaves frost-wilted
and soft decay where rind meets earth.
We thump shells and pinch stems,
judging their bitter ripeness.
A longing to return to a warmer past
pulls against our shoulders,
each step a weighty glance back.
The drizzle slows and we retreat
to the firepit’s shelter.
Cindered remains scraped together,
embers singeing our faces and knees.
Makkara* skins sizzling, pop open,
warm breaths released.
We burn tongues in our haste,
juices dripping down wrists.
Marshmallows toasted brown
then, we hesitate too long,
burnt to sugary charcoal.
It’s easier when we say nothing,
lick sticky fingers and listen
to the fire’s crackling retort.
Closed off in the car,
wood smoke lingers on wool.
It’s a slow journey back.
*Finnish for sausages
Will You Trust Me?My silvered head tosses
above the waves, river kelpie,
water streaming from a matted mane.
Under my gaze, you wash,
bruised, torn skin staining his pool.
My eyes loosen the words
constricting your throat,
release you from the life
you’re sleep-walking through.
I don’t hide the hooves
that stamp at your hesitation.
You know what I am,
to what depths,
tangled in seaweed and loathing,
I will drag you down.
My urging words pull you closer,
hot breath over jagged teeth.
You could start again in my arms.
SunspiralI walk the maze of wave-rolled stones,
circles lapping an exposed sandbar
Children splash in the shallows,
their shouts a rubber ball
tossed and lost in the glare.
The cold tattoo of water on ankle
and dipped wrist, never deeper.
The granite arms spin to the horizon
and the goose returns to her nest,
wingtips kissing water.
The reeds weave low tide
into their lisping song.
Follow the flow of light
into the sun’s wide open arms.
January – Finnish for oak moon, heart moon
when no tangible emptiness exists
with syllables torn from earth,
fragmented and indistinct,
with photographed kisses,
capturing the fall of Arctic light
but not the fleeting soul;
its stoic immutability.
Winter’s secret lore
is an etched oak heart,
over the tongue of night,
doesn’t deter me.
count the hours
as we inch forward.
I bind the tightening void
in my chest,
earth and stone soul,
with birch staves.
Doorstep lanterns suspend dreams.
They send out glowing slivers
of the moon’s pale fire,
a trembling silver axis.
All in search of a path
out of the cold dark.
*heart of winter
Gerry Stewart is a poet, creative writing tutor and editor based in Finland. Her poetry collection Post-Holiday Blues was published by Flambard Press, UK. Totems is to be published by Hedgehog Poetry Press in 2022. Her writing blog can be found at http://thistlewren.blogspot.fi/ and @grimalkingerry on Twitter.