(This is another poem from Neil’s new book Jigsaw. I have been in that chair a few times.)

you enter a room      with the same large table
centred with a tray of glasses      and pitcher of ice water
you nod at the faces but      being familiar with the routine

it’s those glasses and pitcher that hold your attention
how many contenders      have come and gone?
the significance      around the merry-go-round      questions

trying to please      while measuring how much water’s been drained
and how much is needed      to keep the conversation going?
are they fresh as the morning      sharing their humour?

how dry are their throats?      is their enthusiasm waning?
you wonder      are they holding their thumbs up like painters?
are they trying to imagine      how you’d fit in?

or have they made up their minds      before you got here?
will this conversation      require      lubrication?
are they reaching for      the pitcher?