Interregnum

Kathleen Jamie

So I’m moving between rooms
with a tray, advertising
McEwan’s, the kind we took sledging
those distant snow-bright afternoons

– or funereal lacquer, with peonies,
or that classic of my mother’s:
a view of Windsor Castle
inside a wicker pale. Whatever

– a tray, and on it:
two glasses of Vouvray, or better:
croissants and cafetière, my lover
outstretched on the duvet:

or – dream on – pizza for one
and Prime Suspect.
No matter, I’m at the door now
looking round wildly,

trying to find someplace
to set the thing down,
looking round madly;
and I realise exactly

how I’ll end up:
one-legged, unbalanced
trying to hold level
this jigsaw, this haggis

this model-to-scale
of the SS Balmoral,
while howking toward me
the so-called ‘occasional’ table,

and swiping it clear
of Spot on the Farm
for the sake of this precious
whatever-I’ve-brought

from the place I’ve just left,
– a clear space
I can’t very well
turn round and reclaim,

because it won’t now exist.
Besides, that’s a trifle
defeatist, besides,
what’s the point of a tray?