Local bus from Tampere to Helsinki


As I board, the driver

asks for my passport

like he already knows

we will travel to another country.


Along straight highways

lakes shimmer under power lines.

Silver birches shake yellow leaves.

Dark clouds come with rain.


Beside me a young man reads

Learning Vietnamese in Finnish.

For a change of mood he keeps

Naomi Klein, steady on his lap.


I open the Kalevala (in English)

to read of other journeys here;

older ways of seeing this land.

And learn, in repetitions of three


in case you didn’t get it the first

or the second time around, there’s

a mortal cost to not saying out loud

the name of the thing that you want.

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