At midnight on Hallowe’en, my back to the moon,
I looked in the mirror to scry my lover-to-be.
His face rose like a drowned man’s.
At twilight I walked by the lochan in the hills
where the whaap’s cry wavers from the reeds.
A piebald pony ambled up. His nostrils
pulsed as he blew into my hand.
Clicking my tongue, I patted his flanks
and his muscles shivered like water in the wind.
When he lowered his head, I knew I must mount.
I rode him through the night, gripping his back
between my thighs till I slid on our sweat
and he rolled me into cold, green fire.
I clung to his mane blooming with algae,
his shoulders encrusted with mussels and mire.
His hooves softened and opened into a fan
of fingers and toes. Belly flattening, spine
whip-lashing, he bucked and shrank into a man.
As the dark fled, he turned to plunge me under
but dawn broke and he poured through my arms.
I was alone, calling, calling with no answer,
only the widening circles on the loch.
Notes: A Njuggle is a demon water horse or pony found in Shetlandic and Orkney folklore.
A whaap (Shetlandic) - a curlew.
Published in the author's pamphlet 'Flout' (HappenStance, 2015).