Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016


67th Parallel North

in Europe/World by

A thirteen-year-old girl
is murdered a stone’s throw from
her house—her final word on the phone
I’m home in Norwegian, then in English
shit!—to her boyfriend who is also
a child and used to Norwegian
giving way into English, used to cell phones
going dead—like all of us he does not
know that things like what is about to happen
happen here.
They never used to happen here.
The Norwegian papers
are full of the story.
Teenage boy kills teenage girl, while the New York Times
announces someone is about to make it possible
to print a gun.
What are we
or nature for?

Wildfires rage in California—what’s new
is that they rage here too, and the winter drought
that withered our rhododendron’s leaves
left dead-bare branches that shooted forth
pink flowers. Nature turns against nature
in miraculous ways.
Man, too, conducts acts of god,
for what else but a miracle is a printable gun?

The Arctic Ocean still cools
while air temperatures break
we record with cell phone photos
of thermometers we send
to each other with oh gosh! smilies and
sun-face icons that fail to resemble the fury
of a relentless broiling midnight sun.

Television meteorologists call it
good weather, but there’s nothing good about thirst
-driven herds the farmers slaughter
for lack of feed.
Who will call
it murder?
Who dares dream to print
a field of wheat? Nothing that happens
used to happen here.
And now it does,
and no longer do friends in wide-flung corners of the globe
tease me about my arctic home
by asking do polar bears prowl my yard
and why don’t Norwegian police carry guns?


Teenager’s murder shocks small town [News and Views from Norway]
3D printed guns are easy to make and impossible to stop [Vice]
Sweden calls for help as wildfires rage in Arctic circle [Independent]

Rasma Haidri lives on the Arctic seacoast of Norway. She is the author of As If Anything Can Happen (Kelsay, 2017) and three textbooks. Her writing has been widely anthologized and appeared in literary journals including Nimrod, Prairie Schooner, Sycamore Review, and Fourth Genre. She received the Southern Women Writers Association emerging writer award in creative non-fiction, the Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Letters & Science poetry award, a Best of the Net nomination and is a reader for the Baltic Residency.

Photo of She Lies sculpture in Oslo, Norway by Akira Hojo.

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