“The Particle He Has Become” * Poetry * Nina Sääskilahti

From a room to another
I wander
and wonder

Where is he?
Are there any traces of him left?

Last night I had this dream
We were five
in an old wooden rowing boat
in a fog so thick no one could say where the boat was heading

And the next day
the funeral arrangements for the deceased man in a photograph
in an old wooden rowing boat
smiling
sun shining
nothing but blue sky
and the depths of his favorite lake
surrounding him
in the photograph he had chosen to be the one we place on the table on his
funeral day
the photograph left for us to find after his death

I am in a fog
not moving towards any direction
I am moved by this boat and this fog
the particles in the air
transformed to water and then again air
I am this lake
I am this air
with him
whose ashes we will throw to his favorite lake
this lake in the photograph
as soon as ice turns into snow
snow melts into water
water turns into air

The particle he has become

These traces we carve
and leave behind
for others to find
and the invisible trace
he left behind
flying in the air
meeting my nose

Here he is
still in the air
the particle he has become

—About the Author—

Dr Nina Sääskilahti is a researcher in Music, Art and Culture Studies at the  University of Jyväskylä, Finland. She has published on autobiographical writing, cultural memory, belonging and arts-based research. Currently she is interested in the intersections between art and ecology, practices deep listening and loves sound art.

The language for this text emerged through dreaming and as a part of her daily deep listening practices.