September 2018

Back to Issue 4

Mystery chair

By Liz McQuilkin

Willow Court, 2004


In one of the upper rooms,

crusted with dust and droppings,

a chair on stilts.

Above it, remains of a frame.


A stage prop? 


A canopied throne for King Lear 

before he went mad and wandered 

into wilderness?


Or a treatment chair?


Not the whirling ones on wires

where patients were spun

until calmed.


Perhaps an Oldmissbunny 

with her cruel contraption of clamps

for immobilising limbs –

but there’s no sign of those.


Rather, a Bergonic precursor

for electric shocks – 

yet the structure wouldn’t cope 

with seizures.


What about a Tranquilising Chair

with soft leather straps (since removed) 

the patients hidden from view 

behind hessian – notice the remnant.