I knew Evert as Isa,
which means father, in Finn.
Isa built the cabin at the lake
by himself when he was 19 years old.
(In his 50s, my father
built a cabin
near Holland Creek
in a Montana valley—
a grizzly corridor
between the Mission Mountains
and the Bob Marshall Wilderness—
he felled the timber,
peeled the bark,
notched the logs,
Isa managed the dump in Virginia, Minnesota.
Isa scavenged the dump in Virginia, Minnesota.
I envy the trash at his fingertips
treasures in his hands.
He found this head of clay
hiding in the dump one day
and made of it a legacy
to send our dead away.
Sylvia, my grandma’s sisterreceived the head of clay—
a funeral dirge to wail away
the accordian’s quiet Polish grief
at her husband Emil’s passing
(and every member since,
of our family’s heritage,
This head of clay picked up one day by Isa at the dump, follows us to our grave. The youngest over 5 carries it: a solemn honor bestowed. Isa believed in his heart that the head came from the bow of a ship sailing from Finland to America-the ship that brought him here...he swears he could hear her wailing in the wind. "Serendipitous, what you find in the dump," he'd say, a twinkle in his so blue eyes.
Shout out to Magpie Tales for the great picture for this ekphrastic piece. Visit the Magpie link to check out gems others create from the picture.