Abbie Bradfield Mulvihill

Abbie Bradfield Mulvihill: Icelandic Saga

Icelandic Saga

Brendan drinks in Black Death.
But not to wash down rancid “syark.”
No one wants to eat puffin or whale, but I contemplate horse.
I could eat a horse.

Brendan says,
He wants to be a vegetarian.
I think this means he wants to drink vegetarian –
Potatoes, malt, hops, barley.

Why don’t they make meat booze?
I could drink meat booze –
A glass of lamb wine with a sprig of mint, please.

The land is too beautiful, primitive.
Each curve of the road reveals never-before-seen life.

I’m driving down a road, past a sign with a red X through a car.
I’m driving through a tunnel that’s not on the map,
Has no lights and is one lane.
I’m driving on paved road.
Now rubble.
Now paved.
I’m driving up a giant’s muddy staircase
Telling everyone to lean forward.
I’m driving up and down Hellisheidi
With zero visibility, July snow, and a cliff
On the right
…or left.
I don’t understand the language on the sign, but
The explanation point says DANGER to me.

1. The Germans go by
2. The ambulance goes by
3. We drive by the Germans who are upside down against the farm fence
4. The radio announces that 3 of the 4 Germans are dead

The map threatens with pictures
Of accidents and lists
People who have died.
I’m amazed we aren’t dead.

I drive by our hotel but can’t find it.
I drive in circles that go
Toward the sky and then the river.
A ranger tells us
Our hotel has burned to the ground.
Now I see the hotel.
It’s rubble like
The road.

I can’t keep driving
To Reykjavik.
We’ll sleep on a Thingvellir rock.

We stay in the cottage of a stranger
And wonder why she isn’t afraid of us.

Abbie Bradfield Mulvihill has lived in the DC area for over 34 years. She recently decided to release her poems into the wild. Her poem, “We Can Move Forward Now” was published in Best American Poetry’s “Pick of the Week” on August 28, 2022.