Charlach’s Chair

I took Charlach’s Chair carefully from the head of the Jacobite table
to carry it down to the water’s edge when the tide was at its lowest
tying my feet to its legs as I was gazing at my navel, naked
and waiting for a raging hiatus. This is conning clan-hood
and here the paler the forearm tattooed with a white rose
the better. “Is there a flood and an ebb?” “It’s a spring tide,”
the captain said when they slipped the chair
over the sloop’s nose and into the Moray Firth’s shallow crater.

When they find us asleep on Spooty Beach’s slimy rocks
the chair will be a way up the hill: because they thought
they need not weigh it down like a pauper’s box
laid in the salt for seals to feast upon its somnambulistic fare;
and this is searching for meaning where there’s naught,
always in us longing for excuses but out-done by fate,
our lot is harder than flint and whose fault is that? If there is
a Jacobite table there has to be, broken, a Charlach’s Chair.