Tuesday Poem

Fort William

A white launch, sails down, plows across the firth.
A gray day, now-and-then rain, far hills visible but
their intense greens muted by the mist.  October, Scotland,
Fort William.  Sunday.  I sit in a pub looking out at a
sea finger through the window behind two leatherette
club chairs.  The table at my left fills with young Scottish
girls drinking beer and talking – occasionally the one
gets up to pump a refill or a pint for a newcomer.  I wonder
at the intense femaleness of their energy, where it can go,
what will happen to it if it can’t go anywhere.  The young
male cook comes in to flirt.  He hems and haws about mussels
and mustard and is soon blown back to the kitchen.  Outside,
gulls tilt their wings white to the gray light.  A squadron
of low black birds skims above the water.   Some of the women
have risen.  Those who don’t have to stay, go.  Now they’re
all gone, even the bar maid, so I half listen to four Brits
chatter before a gambling machine blinking red and white
like the background to the credits in a science fiction movie.
Across the water, a white heron stands patient as the rain.

by Nils Peterson