“Rarely can we meet together,
rarely can one meet the other,
in these dismal Northern Regions.”
—Birth of Väinämöinen, The Kalevala
We have never strayed
from deep water,
our dreams stained
with berries and mud.
Both our natal goddesses
fell to shivering lands
whose coasts are swallowed
and subsumed by floods.
Ilmatar ate a single lingonberry
and carried an entire man
in her burning belly for seven hundred years
in a cold sea, waves swelling large
as the waxing sting.
Sky Woman was no Eve cast asunder,
though, like her, she did fall, floating along
while her friends drowned, until only muskrat’s
tiny hand clutched brown earth,
his stinking head bobbing dead
in rhythm with the gray bath.
These are the stories we recall hushedly,
hers found in small-print books like
strained shells too small for growing
yolks, mine in the agate-oval mouth
of my mother showing me library paintings
of lost indian myth.
We don’t bring this up too often.
Earth was born from her
and her, and we understand the gravity
of our waters. Who’s to say that one flood is the last?