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A Few Years Ago

Marika Staff

I went to Norway
green in love
and desperately,
nauseatingly smitten.

There was this boy I wrote letters to
and though he hadn't written for a while
the trip was planned
months in advance
so I got on the airplane and trusted it
not to crash in Greenland or some other cold country,
and it turned out that a lot of people speak English in Oslo.

So I found his little house
and on the second day I said to him,
Tell me again
that thing about artists:
how they harness the “it,”
the explosion that doesn't quite explode
but hovers,
kept together in a circle of surface-tension,
and vital to, what was it, humanity?

He ignored me and said, Go out and be a crazy Miss Clara
who splatters paint on gymnastic horses,
and I asked him, What is that considered,
beautiful—ghastly?, and he said, No,

I couldn't stand the way he stood there
looking so dismal
like he hadn't been outside in days,
but when he spoke it was all,
The hillsides are green and rolling and edged with wildflowers—
Look out the window!

It got me mad so I pointed and said to him,
There is the wide truth,
right there past the glass. You knew I would come
but you didn't really want me.
And you're useless
because you think you can jump into those hills like they're waves
but they're not
they're solid earth,
and you can't wash yourself in me either
because look, I'm hard like the ground.

I made him look with his hand on my face,
on my hips,
my thighs,
but afterwards he only said,
I'm sort of jaded but not really.

Fuck you, I said but not out loud,
and I went to the shower and threw up.

For two weeks Norway was beautiful everyday
but I can't remember exactly.

And here the grass isn't greener
but at least it gives a little when you walk.


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