Elijah Matthew Tubbs lives and writes in Arizona. His work is forthcoming in Hobart. He is co-founder of ELKE "a little journal."

July 6, 2016

Elijah Matthew Tubbs


In Iceland they build small cairns of bone so ghosts have homes away from the living but are safe from weather The air is so dark in the desert behind our yard One could hold it, sip its thickness Tonight in Arizona I build you a cairn like an Icelander: Sticks for strength, rosemary to remember, and figs for taste All held tight by a hair tie of yours, so you can have a home away from me

The poem "Cairn" was written after reading a few short essays by Eliot Weinberger in his collection Karmic Traces. In those essays he explores Iceland and its many myths, lore, etc. among many other things too. Anyways, he briefly wrote about these small pyramids of bone, the cairns, that are spread throughout the landscape. Supposedly they were built so the family is not haunted by the ghost of their loved ones but the ghosts are safe in the harsh Icelandic weather. I found it to be heartbreaking and oddly comforting. Perfect for a poem, I thought.

Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published weekly by Glass Poetry Press.
All contents © the author.