Interim Relief

by Mona Arshi

I went to the judge and asked for interim relief.
He said, “What job, what relief?” At Security they’d frisked us
for pearl-handled lady pistols and stained Tupperware.
At 10 a.m. I stood up to address the court.
All I wanted was to dutifully inherit this small patch
of useless land, its parched soil rarely gives anything up.
But had I filed my bundles? Had I notified the other parties,
had I applied my signatures on every paginated
witness statement and paid the Crown Office court fee?
I was, as they say, on my own. My lawyer hadn’t shown up,
the intervenors waited on the steps of the court.
I brought the pleadings with me in an unconventional manner
tied with ribbons in a rudimentary baby sling and
the impatient clerk ironed them out with her hand.
One of the judges recused himself and I didn’t know why.
I dug my fingernails into the ancient grooves of the long oak benches
whilst the judge deliberated. When I was a little girl
I pushed a friendly-looking stone into my ear.
That was what the sound was like, when the verdict was announced.