Heartland Travel

by Emily Teitsworth

The bus windows are frosted.
Through them
the Scottish Highlands appear dramatic,
melancholy and exhausted.

A vastitude of clouds
arranged thick to thin over mountain tips.

I am sitting next to my best friend,
she is asleep.

It doesn’t quit raining.
Miniature rivers down hillsides that puddle
under tire tread. Sometimes it hails
tiny sculpted spheres cotton-colored
that disintegrate into four degree slush.

I cannot feel my toes.
My shoes are dripping, almost lost them in the mud
on the first hike. The mud suckled at my sneakers
like nipples.

The tour guide tells stories.
About warriors that named the mountains.
About fairies who swapped their children for human babies.
About a man who spent forever in fairyland.

The tour guide tells us
Christianity was hard-won in the Highlands
because fairies were worshiped.
Because how else could the eccentricity
of the world be explained?

The Old Man of Storr looks ready to topple.
I wonder what would happen if I touched it.
Would it shatter into fragments of silver and gold?
Or would it crumble to basalt dust
and be washed away into the sea?
Part of me thinks, It is just a rock.

The stories are a way of life,
the land is the plot and the characters
and all the dialogue in between.

The Highlands
are a realm of whisperings.



Read an interview with Emily here.


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