We don’t need maps on the island, she said:
Tam Mackinnon is the hill you’re looking for,
rises up just north east of here.
Bastard of a place; was up there last week
looking for sheep to bring down.
Tam was a mate; sort of a drinking mate
until, we reckon, he drank so much he got lost
out on his quad. He ended up bent backwards
in a gully, his collie sitting next to his head.
I found them; named the place.
Squint-Eyed Will is the really deep lochan,
shaped like a fist, just east of Tam.
Will drowned, fishing for trout.
We all told him there were no fish in the lochans,
but you’d often find him sitting on a rock,
line baited and cast, waiting for a bite.
Some like to believe he hooked a big one.
When they dragged him out, it’s been said,
he had a smile on his face and Gary said:
a deep red gash in the corner of his mouth.
Gary loved him like a brother,
so the lochan became Will.
You’ll find Bethany Shearer on the west coast,
near the big beach. A tourist found her body
last July, dressed in black as always.
At first they thought she was a dead seal,
but seals don’t wear backpacks covered in gothic symbolism,
or have dirty needles sticking out of their flesh.
All the lads loved Bethany, until
she started hitting the drugs. One stuck with her,
Tam he tried to help, but he had his own issues.
This year a lot of the kids held a naming party there;
some from the island even knew her.
She handed back the map.
Bernard Briggs is originally from Sussex. He moved with his family to Aberdeen in 2003 and is now well established in the literary scene of the granite city. Three collections of his work have been published: 'Love Cry and Wonder Why' (2007), 'A Hatching of Ghosts' (2011) and 'Headlines' (2013). For several years he was involved in Pushing Out the Boat magazine and is currently a member of the Lemontree Writers group. He is a regular visitor to the Hebrides, from where he draws much inspiration.