I am a blind seamstress
For three years you watched me undress
You take pleasure in what I can’t see
Normalised to taking your word and consuming it, whilst the sentences consumed me
I am a blind seamstress
Wanting only to mend
Gentle hands work in the dark in fear of reprimand
Eggshells crunch beneath cold feet
Heightened senses, echoes loud
Overbearing so I can’t speak
Sometimes reduced to a whisper
But love heals all in good time
Even my wounds of mishaps with needle and thread
Skin like paisley, dappled crimson red
But I just wanted to fix and bind
Honestly, I didn’t mind
I didn’t mind until I’d tried every patchwork under the sun
I was so selfishly selfless because you said I was the one.
MY ARM HAIR IS NOT UP FOR DEBATE. IT IS THICK AND DARK LIKE MY HISTORY.
I HOPE IT MAKES YOU UNCOMFORTABLE AND CRUMPLE YOUR BROW. TELL ME AGAIN,
WHO IS EXOTIC NOW? AND TAKE THAT OFF YOUR FOREHEAD.
DON’T TELL ME THAT MY HAIR LOOKS BETTER STRAIGHT OR TO SMILE MORE.
THEY ASK WHERE I COME FROM THEN DISMISS MY FIRST ANSWER LIKE I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND THE QUESTION. LIKE I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND THE DIRECTION OF THE CONVERSATION. I SPEAK OF HERTFORSHIRE WITH CONFIDENCE YET THEY WANT TO HEAR MIGRATION PATHS AND CLASS.
I SEE THEIR SWATCH CARD.
CATCH HARSH GLIMPSES OF IT THROUGH THEIR SLURS.
BUT NOT AS MUCH AS OUR WORDS. WE DO NOT CRAVE THEIR VALIDITY. THERE IS NOTHING TO HIDE. My skin is drenched in humility as much as it is pride.
I come from ground cinnamon, turmeric and chai. From Swahili and Cymru. Gujarati and grace.
But they demand one place.
One definitive location. One single race.
Please, allow me to serve this pint, sir.
Now, how does that taste?
watch the margins bleed
ink from pen absorbs hastily
soaking in pigments from all directions
the paper rises like tiny sand dunes
felt-like and telling
materialised fears in blue ovals, dotted i and crossed t
the page consumes and bares dappled wounds
once two fathers
but now, one
walls and accents
gravitate towards the north
this island, so miniature
though, not humble
sure, I stumble with my heavy rucksack
I pack a few pieces of fabric
to warm my long limbs
a few pieces of paper
bound on the left side
hoping they accept my melanchonic ink
Two plaits hang delicately
reaching the base of her fractured spine
four foot ten with the resilience of a mountain
which, like her, must erode
and transform with time
though, this is in the morning
before the daily-worn armor of tracksuits and trainers
before the plaits wrap and entwine
and create her crown of security and strength
she faces each day in each way it comes
ever-more aware of the cold, yet, still resting in the northern sun
the garden swing sways with feet on chairs rested
long silences lead me to wonder what the right words are to say
so, instead we sit side-by-side and gaze at the horses across the stream
parent and foal
One hundred and thirty seven pence
The landlord will not debate
Between my twenty summers
And twenty springs
And others’ twentysomething winters
And their twentysomething springs
I pay my rent, but first
Pay my good mind as a labouring entity
The bottom line must be precise
It cannot afford recognition of like-for-like ability
Sustenance never fails to forget my birthday
I am worth one hundred and thirty seven pence more in May
A bookshelf filled with knowledge
Supporting a globe, silver and grey
So saturated in life
Condensed into a sphere
With all shades of grey and silver
Borders divide river
Forest and marshland
Of families who reside
On arid land masses
Whose ancestors sung proud in an archaic tongue
Unknown to the ear of the present day young
Books beneath the globe
Tell all that was omitted
All that was permitted
Who thrived on the same terrain
Who once felt they had something to gain
Entitled to a purpose