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  • Two lions, showing their teeth and clutching shields, guard the foot of my enormous half-tester bed as the wind keens outside the window. It has not found solace this night.

    I lie here wondering what you, Dr. Johnson, thought as you lay
    in this very bed in this very room in this very croft house on this very lonely slip of Skye
    as you toured the Hebrides with your friend Boswell in search of wild Scotland.


    Did the wind drive you mad?
    Did the lions bring you comfort?
    Did they make you laugh at the absurdity of your journey?
  • Did you dream the waterfall every night?
    Did you invite the mountain's stark indifference into your bones?
    Turn from the sky's mercurial shenanigins?
    Lose yourself in the sea's blooming swells?

    Your journal reveals nothing of the sort. Boswell's neither.
    (I am reading you and writing you and wondering you as I lay in this bed with the lions guarding my feet)
  • Did you, Oh Great Man of Letters and Lexicography, pull open these thick curtains each morning?

    Did you gaze past these boulder-thick walls, out this many-paned window to marvel
    at morning's cold pink fingers summoning sheep the color of stone walls?

    Did you wonder at the sea's arms pushing inland past hummocky islands,
    straight to the feet of the white-tipped Cuillins?
  • Or were you (as I suspect you were) too distracted by human history:
    crofts falling back to the earth, abandoned in the flight to North America?

    Did your dislike of America find here a peaty whiskey burn?
  • Did your sore self (how did you get the girth of you around this roadless, peat-bogged island) settle
    into this thick fluff of down
    to pillow you--if only for a moment-- from this adventure into the mystery of place?


    Did you write your journal to duck the wind?
    Did your pen help you to gloss
    or to gloss over?

    Or did you lie here, as I do, trying--but failing--to slip past those lions
    to push past the wind
    and the light and the bog and the sea
    to unlock the perfect heart of this place?
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