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Two Poems by Fiona Inglis

The Pilgrimage 

 

It took seven hours on the train

from Oslo to Bergen

to fully comprehend what

your journey must have been.

 

Pulling through Hardanger

I looked down at the fjords some

4000 ft below and pictured you:

a sublime figurine on horseback,

coming over a different 

kind of mountain.  

 

The procession must have been 

quite the spectacle. But you broke off,

as always, leaving

Hobhouse with the trunks.

(Yet skilled somehow in carting

all the baggage.)

 

Rain came down hard. At Voss we were held

precipitous in the mist. And at once

I was sure I felt the same as you had

that night they lost you 

in a torrent on a cliff face –

just a bit less drenched. 

 

The train pressed on and I curled 

round my portion of Perspex 

until all fingers were numb: half-cut 

on the heights, lengths, darkness, depths,

half done-in by the repetition.

 

When it came to it, I disembarked

to a downpour; traced the sodden

map to a hotel up the hillside.

Beaten by wind, I stopped 

to get my bearings. And to forget

the likeness of the landscape

we had both once fled.

 

 

Reflection

 

Naked, wet, I stepped out of the shower,

hair in towel, and looked over

my muzzled reflection in the mirror.

 

But you had a habit of interrupting the peace.

 

You came after me again, my body again – 

not with a pair of warm, strong arms, still

advancing with all the intent of them.

 

Without a word we resumed our roles.

 

I gasped, flapped. Took a step back.

Opened an eye:

 

stuck to the glass

 

suspended

in the mist

 

somewhere between

 

a hip and

a breast:

 

the move so rehearsed, gone wrong.

 

Steam lifted – image tightened – and leaning

in to my reflection again, I could examine

how every other bite had taken place.

 

 

Fiona Inglis grew up in the North and South of Scotland – although she firmly considers herself Glaswegian. She holds a BA Honours Degree in English and Journalism & Creative Writing from the University of Strathclyde and was a recipient of the University’s Keith Wright Memorial Prize for Fiction during her study. Her work has been published in Valve Journal and The Missing Slate amongst others, nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and shortlisted for the 2015 Bridport Prize.

 

 

Image credit: Christina VanMeter

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