The Railroad Through the Highlands

Rain catches on the windows as green
blurs against most of my sight.
I steal glimpses of umber bark and for a moment
I mistake the forest for his eyes.
The light dotting of houses within the trees pulls
me from the safety of the train car into the blazing
isolation and wild myth of the highlands.

The mountains are engulfed by fog and kiss
clouds at the peak — and I believe
if I touch stone I’ll fall through time.
The evergreens cling to my shoulders
and insulate the warmth that rolls from the misty
gray sky. Trees can’t tell this morning from last
century and the clouds have taught me how to cry.

Only in the highlands of Scotland will we find the air
that rises from the heavens below us. Each Munro
is a painted backdrop that I’m waiting to be revealed
as a mirage. Or it’s a cruel trick by God
that nothing this majestic could exist on
the same ground I bury my dreams into.

We stand in forests older than our names
and the rocks have more stories than our library.
We’ll listen to each tale they whisper as the river current
passes my spot in the train car — riding through the highlands.


By Gabrielle Crone

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