Girlie-girls, city-bred on the scheme, turn out,
suitcases past sell-by date, strapped with belts.
Kohl lines frame Cleopatra eyes,
allium spikes of spray-stiff hair quiver
slick with mousse, and then there’s the damson perm.
A wail of guttural nae way fills the bus.
Bedtime unravels. A cluster of smiles
shows off a photograph of a soldier,
tucked into a layer of grey-white undies,
the boyfriend, he’s braw, eh, Miss?
Alarm clocks rattle, sleepy-heads mumble,
what’s this, eh? where’s ma Coco Pops, eh?
Life jackets, canoes, Inuit style, slumber on the shore.
Water whooshes towards their feet. Eyes widen.
Nae way goes up the chant,
nae way at the very thought.
Loch Morar waits, glint under the widest blue.
Paddle hard, Atlantic bound,
never coming back. This is magic, Miss.
Maggie Mackay, a jazz and whisky loving Scot, has work in various print and online publications, including The Everyday Poet edited by Deborah Alma, Amaryllis, Bare Fiction, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Fat Damsel, The Interpreter’s House, Prole, and The Poetry Shed.