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.
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
in the mist
a hip and
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