Reykjavik
By Jason MacLeod

Thinking of Iceland

Thinking of Iceland has the texture of gravity or ghosts.

There is a filament of the idea, some combined bloom

of symbols or words or colors, then, something tactile:

the low weight in my young belly falling from the apple tree limb glassed in ice;

the heat on my chest last spring as the apparition of you

floated above, arced, mouthed the word open.

Thinking of Iceland has the texture of gravity or ghosts.

There is a filament of the idea, some combined bloom

of symbols or words or colors, then, something tactile:

the low weight in my young belly falling from the apple tree limb glassed in ice;

the heat on my chest last spring as the apparition of you

floated above, arced, mouthed the word open.

Which is to say, how heavy an island country must be upon itself.

Which is to say, we associate thing with thing

and when I remembered you liked raisins I sang about grapevines at breakfast.

And when it snowed in May you said we should take a trip,

someplace cold and strange and far away.

The contrast is part of it: what thought is there and what is not.

Iceland is not a perfect white owl alight in a field,

though I would like that. It is also not your February breath,

though I would like that too.

The contrast is part of it

Iceland is in the burn of fingertips picking up a bright coal

within a swatch of light cloth. It is in a mitten packed with snow.

The summit has concluded. Every plane is in the air.

Iceland is a silhouette, a space I've never known.

In a distant country there is a snowball melting into an open palm.

In a distant country there is heat deep beneath cold rivers.