The train leans through
the Highland line, Inverness
to Fearn, wheat either side.
This carriage bows for you.
You are dead. The fields
look especially golden.
Years I took this route.
I thought I might see you
by the station window but never did.
Sometimes it was jarred, a cat
there in the yellow oil of the sun.
But I never saw you.
My timeline is strewn,
I do not know the dates.
Each time I visited home
you may have been losing your hair
in some sterile room; the antithesis of you.
You bald lioness, you withering bird.
And I never did write you that letter
to let you know just what
it meant, that you took the time
to ease and mellow my young folds.
I did not alight until after you
had flown clean from here.
I have taken this thought apart
and only ever come up with this:
no need for Gods or angels,
I remember you without these,
entering the classroom, a new kind of teacher.
You stoic thing, you’re untethered.
A child, I wrote the stories only you
could tow from me. You said
‘Go deeper into the water, I want
to see the world below the lowest point’.
Now the station house is empty.
The fields really do sway their gold today.
David Linklater is a poet from Balintore, Easter Ross. A former potter, he moved to Glasgow in 2012 and has lived there since. His work has appeared in Gutter, Savant-Garde, Glasgow Review of Books and Ink, Sweat & Tears, amongst others. His pamphlet ‘Black Box’ was published with Speculative Books in 2018. He was recently shortlisted for the 2020 Edwin Morgan Award. Twitter @DavidRossLinkla, Website: Scottish Poet | David Linklater Poetry