Five years ago about this time, Eric and I were on our way back from Scotland. We didn’t take in the entire West Highland Way on foot as planned, but our black sheep guides (all of them) deserve a whiskey toast.
To Leave Is One Thing
By the time we get back to Glasgow
the thistle has turned cottony
and the black sheep who has been our guide
rests quietly, dinned wheels and muddied
exterior, in the parking lot of Arnold Clark’s car hire.
On the Erskine Bridge, traffic stops
for a suicide, but we are not sad, not really.
To leave is one thing, to depart
without experience sewn into muscle and mind
would be too much.
The cabbie’s loud music turns into an opportunity.
As we approach the airport
we fill our minds of all that came before:
Central Station from the hotel window,
the Highlands materializing through the rain.
Stirling Castle and the cobbled way
toward Aberfeldy. Maple scarf marriage
and the Fortingall Yew. Haggis and scones,
bens, bogs, and roundabouts. Humming
Loch Lomond, and stealing Skye
from Clan Donald. Putting our feet down,
imagining there is no pain.
For nights to come we will dream of thistles.