Easy to overlook in a museum featuring
a replicated Viking boat. The Quern was not
wood masterfully shaped into curving sides
with upswept prow and stern.
Even as we walked on the wooden deck
of the museum Viking boat, the Quern stone,
behind its shield of glass, was protected from us
as if it was a moon rock, that might be taken
simply because someone wanted to hold
a piece of the moon. Or (in the case of the Quern)
to feel the stone once used by a woman Viking
scraping and grinding tiny seeds—
smaller than wheat or barley—into flour.
A friend told me she grew Amaranth
and Quinoa—grasses—but cleaning the seeds
by hand got the best of her.
How would grass-flour taste?
Sweet? Dry? Bitter? Would you count the seeds
you needed to plant next year?
Fiercely protect the seeds to be certain
your kids had food? And the Quern?
Pack the stone each time you move.