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No. 4 & 5

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Brian Fitch  
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October, Helsinki

Autumnís chill overlooks ships.
Windows of apartments, not unlike
windows of my childhood dreams,
burn yellow making me lonely.
Above the harbor, a gray, forbidding sky
slides past, capturing me in time
and memory.  A one-eyed man hawks
fish from his boat tied at the herring market
dock, wool hat pulled down.  As night deepens,
yellow light washes the sky then turns
orange.  Soon I'll have a birthday,
and Iím glad to be among the ancient
rocks that anchor Helsinki to the sea.
 

Light, When it Returns, is Greater Than its Expectation:
Spring, Helsinki

Now the sun at five, the darkness at eleven,
nearly more than I can bear.  And so I wait
for buds, the sudden greenness overnight,
elusive and arbitrary.  I am, it seems, 
a product of light gone and light returned.

The sea again is liquid, lapping at the rocks;
the moss glows green.  I see the Earth curve,
ships pushing foam where ice was breaking,
sliding in great slabs of hardness just a month ago.
I walked the sea at Easter, salt beneath my feet,
and I was anxious.

Now Iím fearful of the light, the hard sun harrowing
each crack in each brick and cement faced building,
my aging body in its glareóno place to hide,
the comfort that I've learnedólong nights,
shadows, gone.  I should stay, I think, not
run away, let this warp and weave of dark
and light surround me.
 

After Midsummer: Timís Island

A moment between light and dark, 
the sea's disorderórolling breakers 
crashing up on yellow rocks and over pools 
of seaweed forests, we ride Tim's small boat 
to the inward lighthouse.

No time to sink among the islands now, 
brackish bottom creatures singing
in the dying light.  Iím leaving, and I 
celebrate the god carved islands
of the archipelago, bathed in summer light,
the tips of remembrance,
winter dreams, midsummer past.

But I have memory.  Ice does 
displace warmth and cold empowers heat.
The light is leaving, and Iím glad the earth 
is turning toward Sibelius, Sisu, dark pines.

Iím leaving soon, the lighthouse locked.
Long rollers break across the flint islands,
barely visible curve of earth and sky,

spinning.  I am dizzy with the joy of blue 
and white above me, earth and water
below, darkness just a memory: light to dark,
dark to light.  I am fleeing only to return.
Someday to return.
 

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