We counted the boats back in – a flotilla
of seven or eight, minutes apart and low in the water;
our seal-familiar nosed flotsam in their wake,
mid-channel as usual, checking our arithmetic.
Pink rock grew among sedge-stubble
where we walked the brae under stationary drizzle.
We could hear fillet-crates fork-lifted
onto lorries between the ice-tower and the packing-shed.
The path took us inland towards Suilven
across uncut peat as if what we walked on were living
under the rain, our over-the-shoulder
chat absorbed by the low-tech studio upholstery
of sphagnum and fern, our tread cushioned.
‘Eccentric Tourists among the Amphibia’ opened
on cue – wholly wireless and unrehearsed.
Amateur, unmarshalled, our hooded chorus-line
went out on air. Each step tested the membrane,
registered a fathom’s vegetal give,
and dislodged the frogs from their sleep in the archive.
In this ten-years-after playback
I count boats out of the harbour onto the Atlantic
and notice, as if for the first time, the technician’s neat
high placing of the oystercatcher’s invariant note.