I bathe in one of Iceland’s sulfur pools,
waiting for the Aurora Borealis.
Stories of these exotic lights
led me to Iceland. The moon rises,
leaving a shining silver trail
across the shard clumps
of the lava fields. Along the bank,
frost touches the weeds. Within
the earth, the volcanic gases heat the water,
and the pond’s muddy bottom.

The evening rain arrives
and through a misty curtain,
I see Viking sailors, tending
night fires under a flickering sky.
As the lights rolled over their heads,
did thoughts about family rise
with campfire smoke? Did they recall
their ancient adage, “As long as
you see the northern lights,
you are not far from home?”

Further down the lava bank, I see
how the molten rock spread,
winding until its geometric form
hardened. After the storm, the clouds
part, and the northern lights
flow over the lava fields.
Submerging, I plant my feet
in the muck and stand ― my body
under water ― my head bare
beneath the shimmering sky.

Joe Milosch’s Homeplate Was the Heart & Other Stories was nominated for the American Book Award and the Eric Hoffer, best Small Press Publication, award. He has multiple nominations for the Pushcart, and his books of poetry are The Lost Pilgrimage Poems and Landscape of a Woman and a Hummingbird.