Poems by Paal-Helge Haugen
Translated from the Norwegian by Damon Aukema

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photo by Damon Aukema

Abbreviated Geography

by Paal-Helge Haugen
Translated from the Norwegian by Damon Aukema

From Canary Spring 2014

Paal-Helge is a Norwegian poet, novelist and playright.
Damon lives in Red Wing, Minnesota, in the Rush-Vermillion watershed and within walking distance of the Mississippi River.

Forests grow up
from the map, first as a thin film
of green earth with distant footsteps
and cries, rivers overflow their banks
and soak the paper, the wind sweeps in
and out between its pages, with wingstrokes
and rippling when sun and rain rewrite everything
again as the sand spreads, sifting
down over continents, and on the sixth day
a barely visible streak
of smoke, day of fire and ashes

before the seventh day, when the forests stand
gray and defoliated, ready to judge
the living and the dead.




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