Kiruna: New Year's Eve - Poem by Hans Ostrom
At noon there was a murky soup of light,
which darkness drank.
Iron miners cruise in large
awkward old American cars
on Kiruna's frozen streets.
The custom is for each drunk
passenger to pay a driver
to be not drunk.
Samis sell bone-handled knives
and jewelry the color of
At the New Year's party, my Swedish
cousin and I watch shadows and smudges
of the original King Kong play
on a Finnish TV station. My cousin
is blonder than Fay Wray.
Fireworks outside seem stupid because
we didn't have to wait for darkness.
At 11: 00 p.m. my cousin reports
that she always cries at the stroke
of the New Year. I'm prepared,
like a Swede, when tears travel
from her eyes like small droplets
of Sami pewter. I'm impressed
when one tear lands in her
glass of Norwegian champagne.
1981/2017 Hans Ostrom
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