The Kattegat is a sea to the west of Sweden. It is north enough that the water never warms. In the long days of summer the sun sets well after eleven. The sea lights with plankton as you move through the water.
There are hundreds of tiny islands dotting the Kattegat. In 2002, Mike and I stayed in a farmhouse with no electricity on a biscuit private isle. The Swedes are made of sterner stuff - each island has a dock with a sauna. It is customary to heat the sauna to temperatures just shy of surface-of- the-sun hot. At which point you'll do anything to escape the burn, including jumping into what feels like Artic waters. And so the cycle goes...
in August we swam at midnight
with seaweed that lit the Kattegat
and caressed our undraped bodies
wet sparks winking code to the moon.
we laid out a sailor's feast
amid a cityscape of candles
and a feverish sauna
that singed our lungs
and spurred our plunge
into the boreal sea.
we wasted need,
flickers turned to fire.
we hindered dawn one golden night
on a star-drenched Swedish isle.