Maija Haavisto

The Wild, Dry, Arid, West That Is Very Much Alive

(listen to the poem, read by the author)

on film, it looks real and quite appealing
mostly thanks to color grading
closer up, the desert is arid and dusty
and drains all moisture out of you
the buildings look as hollow as they are
you can’t go in, it’s just cardboard
those scenes would be shot in the studio

you can never go in
like a vampire, you must be
invited first and who would invite you?
we are left to roam the wasteland
it’s too much to ask for rain
but you can dig your roots deeper
it’s your movie now and you can
shoot it all on location
sunsets and rattlesnakes and all
clapperboard the hell out of it
who needs a studio
this is our village now
it will gain depth
and plump up over time

unplank the windows
and let the sun in
its beams might melt the film reels
but the dust is a free canvas
skittish and pulsing with aliveness
it’s a wrap? let it unwrap
that’s where the story begins

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Time Crystals

(listen to the poem, read by the author)

when my bones dry off
and are ground to meal
I barely notice a difference
this body is sawdust and ashes
why would I need bones
to prop up a cloud of dust? 

each night I return to earth
that dissipates from under me
the only concrete thing existing
is concrete and even that is
really just a powder
pretending to be solid

I breathe in my bones
and my body and the earth
it makes me thirsty
which I quench with
the juice of my flesh

this is just a placeholder
maintaining a physical dimension
in a world that insists
on being a physical realm
I could just hang out in
the cloud and/or the clouds
stilled storms and subatomic space
anywhere with a little room
for specks of dust to form
pretty swirls in the air
I don’t need a realm
for this old body
it sighs and dissolves

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The Rest

(listen to the poem, read by the author)

it’s a good thing women don’t get sick
when would they even have time for that? 

between yoga and freezer-friendly meal prep
between gaining and losing weight
between paperwork and paperweights
between self-care, self-hatred and self-improvement
between fitness, wellness, mindfulness, emptiness, empty nests
between biological clocks and normal clocks that are the same,
          just ticking your time away

between puberty
between periods
between pregnancies
between motherhood
between perimenopause
between menopause
between getting old

they all make you immune
to external maladies
no time, not sick, just them lady hormones
chin up, love
take a bubble bath
e v e r y o n e   i s   t i r e d

between getting old and… oh, you’re dead now
isn’t it kinda nice?

you were just
in need of a break

now, still calories left to burn

then you can
rest in peace

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About the Author

Maija Haavisto lives in the difficult intersection of being a medical writer and a chronically ill disability activist. She has had medical textbooks, novels about chronic illness, and two poetry collections published in Finland: the latter are titled Raskas vesi (Aviador 2018) and Hopeatee (Oppian 2020). In English, her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Wondrous Real, ShabdAaweg Review, The North, Anomaly, Asylum, Eye to the Telescope, Shoreline of Infinity, and Kaleidoscope.