For now, at least, it has gone.

The notebooks with promising phrases, the backs of envelopes with doodles: they are of no use to you.

A friend rings with news of their triumphs. You are the first to hear. They have chosen you! Isn’t it great?

Pandemonium sweeps through your brain, a wave, not metaphorical, but actual, of heat.

The plop of envelopes on the doormat. Poems returned, magazines of poems, your name not amongst them.

Between the bedcovers you plot.

But first there is this, a snivel, and a shuffle to the shops. In your slippers. In daylight.

Soup, from the tin, barely warm.

(It really has gone).

You wave goodbye to it, the imposter you knew it to be, from the window.

It does not look back at you, in your robe and thermal underwear, toast crumbs dotting your scarf.

It does not even kiss you.

You wonder whose suitcase this is, taking up your hall. It wasn’t there when you last looked.