A Young Daugh­ter of the Picts

The Iowa Review - - CAMILLE GUTHRIE - Jac­ques Le Moyne de Morgues, ca. 1585

To Do

Strut around the shire like I’m all that in my new flower tat­toos.

Linger near the vis­i­tors from Northum­bria, gen­tly hold­ing my spear in case they get mouthy.

Give the side-eye to the An­gle hussy, the one who moved in by the wa­ter­mill show­ing off her pelts like no one ever skinned a wild boar be­fore.

Prom­ise the Vik­ing I’ve chained in my hut he can re­turn north to his mama if he obeys my every or­der.

Swim way out, burst be­tween waves, and yank a whale from the deeps—din­ner for weeks.

Won­der, while I’m milk­ing my cow, why we have kings when we in­sist on ma­tri­lin­eal suc­ces­sion? Gulp cream, pat her flanks fondly, gaze at the dis­tant green hills.

Paint woad over tat­toos and leap out at that new­comer, Ninian, when he comes back from that al­tar he’s try­ing to build. Press foot on his face un­til he shuts it. Tell him: The day I con­vert you’ll have to tat­too “Mo­ron” across my face, which is never.

Build a bon­fire on the moun­tain to send sig­nals to the Ro­mans. I hear they have cool hair­cuts?

Make out with that Gael fel­low if I feel like it. Ah, that bushy beard! Meat and milk, those bulging thighs!

I swear if that her­mit steals from my net­tle patch again I’m go­ing to stran­gle him with my long blond tresses. If I don’t have a cup of net­tle tea in the morn­ing, I’m ir­ri­ta­ble.

The Vik­ing spends his time knit­ting me a wool sweater. Do I look like I’m cold? Id­iot.

Why does ev­ery­one hang­ing out in a broch have to sing all the time? Can’t a girl have a lit­tle quiet in a crannog?

Drop by the kiln and trade wolf skin for a set of sweet new soup bowls.

Get some sand be­tween my toes. Why I don’t just take my lit­tle boat and float south to see what the Bri­tons are up to? That would be some­thing dif­fer­ent.

Ninian says Ro­man women can’t do this or that. I’d like to see them try me, mak­ing their stupid laws in their vom­i­to­ri­ums. Just cause you build aqueducts doesn’t give you the right.

When I’m hik­ing with my dog, Hero, I want to be alone. When I’m mak­ing leek soup, I don’t like to share. When I’m go­ing to bed, I like to ride a Vik­ing like I’m a Valkyrie.

Or­der a new dou­ble-ringed metal choker for the hu­man sac­ri­fice next month.

Bury ev­ery­one east of the Forth-clyde isth­mus in the cat­tle-breed­ing con­test this fall.

Sharpen spear. Con­sider re­venge on the An­gles of Ber­ni­cia. Up­pity bitches need to be re­minded who’s boss.

Tell Ninian he smells like cab­bage. Wipe his tears with my braid. En­joy his dis­com­fort. That’s what you get for in­sult­ing my poly­the­ism, snot­head.

In all the seven Pic­tish king­doms, can’t any­one lend me a hoe that works? Is this the late Iron Age or what?

Spit from the top of the cliff. Pon­der the in­signif­i­cance of it all. Pon­der if pi­rates will come this way. Pon­der be­com­ing Pi­rate Queen.

Ninian waited for me when I was out gath­er­ing wa­ter­cress. He said his god said he could fon­dle my ass. Oh re­ally? I said my gods said you bet­ter not fall into a wolf trap.

In a swap for wild gar­lic, the lo­cal witch warned me about things to come—chris­tian­ity, Colo­nial­ism, Cops, Cap­i­tal­ism. A sad and ter­ri­ble fu­ture.

For good luck, paint some peb­bles with pen­ta­cles and cres­cents. Pass out some charm stones at the goat roast this week­end. It can’t hurt.

Make the Vik­ing build me a fan­tas­tic fu­neral boat. Pre­par­ing ahead. Find a wor­thy pi­rate, birth a new na­tion.

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