ASCENDING BEN LOMOND

 

Forty clicks out of Glasgow,

in my father’s army jacket

and wool enough

to wick away the rain,

with a canvas rucksack

and walking stick, I set to work

ascending Ben Lomond,

the mountain that lowered

over the famous loch,

winning each yard

with a kind of weasel-scuttle

that went much slower

the higher I got, no thought

to spare for whiskey

with Mavis that half-seven

at the Dour Scotsman,

or the lovely something

 my landlady promised

for back at her Hillhead flat,

or the wineskin and bread

I’d packed, or the black-bordered

letter I’d gotten from home—

only those lines from Mackay Brown

I said out loud to keep the rhythm

going, though by that time

I was practically crawling,

cursing the gorse, the riprap,

the sheepshit, and off the path,

the dead rabbit that had quit

on me when all I’d wanted

was just one touch

of his lucky shinbone

for the push to the top,

only now I’d have to figure it

on my own—where to put

pressure, where to leave off,

the next best place

to plant my mudslick boot.

 

Steve Myers has published a full-length collection, Memory’s Dog, and two chapbooks. A Pushcart Prize winner, he has had poems previously appear in journals such as Beloit Poetry Journal, Gettysburg Review, Poetry East, Southern Review, and Tar River Poetry. His manuscript entitled Last Look at Joburg won The Tusculum Review’s 2015 Poetry Chapbook Prize.

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