Mark Wekander
The Saga


I once stayed a month on Njals Street in Copenhagen near the new university but I hadn't read the Njals Saga. I looked out from the fifth floor walkup onto the traffic below: the bicyclers, the busses, the small cars, mothers pushing baby carriages, and gulls gliding on updrafts. The clouds were high, stretched in ripples across a rectangular patch of sky.

In a visiting room in a hospital in Odense I waited while nurses performed procedures: blood, urine, needles. I picked up the Njals Saga and opened to a world where no one could stop the bleeding.

Years after my last goodbye to the patient, his arms around me so strong I feared irrationally, that second, he would take me with him, I finished the Njals Saga. Each murder gorged a hole. Men pounded out the blood geld and behind their backs, someone tore a gash. What I have never understood and blush at the thought was my erection as he clung to me as we said goodbye for the last time.

The jasmine's almost dead. I would like to forget it all together, let its last leaf drop. Once its vines shot over the veranda, twisting like characters in a soap opera. Its scent shocked me, soft and naked. I still pour water on the dirt.