I have never run stark naked

in feet

of Maine Snow

just to cool off.


I have never sat in the sauna

for hours;

thoughts sweating out

to the rhythm of the vasta’s drumbeat.


I have never used a porcelain chamberpot

hidden under my bed

because it was too cold & dark

to walk to the outhouse.


I have never gone to school

by way of reindeer,

or lived until I was 99

smoking the years through a pipe.



Heikkinen. Martikainen.


& I have never had to live

without my parents,

with grandparents

as stand-ins.


I have never had to communicate

with my hands

so my parents could






& I have never had everything—

a baseball team,

a trucking company—

end up a sacrifice.


I have never frequented flea markets

selling memories

from other people’s

dead houses.


I have never had to change

my name from its original

because customs taught me to fear



I have never escaped

my father

and his fascist friends

by fleeing to America.


Watzke-Watcke. Joe.


& I have never had a stepfather

who beat me until that village

woman gave me her name

and ticket for life in America.


I was never born

on a farm

to a mother of two dead children

one too close to the fire, one too far away.


Figlar. Mary


But all the blood that got you through

blends inside me

& pumps through my heart

& transports me back

to you.