GINA FUCHS

A Moment with Vikings

There is a group of people that the woman
            whose couch I have been sleeping on calls Vikings.
She said If I walk over to the Baltic early enough

            in the morning past the wooded road and the deer,
I can see them run from their homes, strip naked to their skins,
            and wade slowly into the sea where the sun is only slightly

rising over the horizon. One morning I go and I see them
            wearing robes and then nothing at all, trusting their bodies enough
to keep them warm. I, alone, am wearing a winter coat and boots,

            feeling stupid despite the chill picked up from the water
that aggravates small waves into the surface. Taking off
            my shoes and socks. I try to join the group of strangers

who are only strangers to me, wishing something would warm
            the water that wouldn't also kill us, and to be less alone
but it's too cold. Fully clothed and with damp socks,

            I go back to the woman's home, who is almost as much
of a stranger, never seeing the sun rise over the water,
            wanting to strip and be free.

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