Jane Burn


This poem is written as an immediate response to the results. Friday the 24th was a tough day. I wanted to hide away and not face a world I felt I did not understand. But work called, so off I had to go. To experiences really coloured my day.

Independence Day

He is as chipper as a spuggy –
rubs his hands together, brisk,
chucks his change. Independence Day!
Hmmm mmm he hums, then clocks my dish.
I bet you voted Remain, he says.
How can you tell? I want to ask. His eyes
wipe over my arm, slick from the roses
at my wrist, to the dragonfly, to the orchids –
carry on to the plait, riding the crown
of my too-bright hair.
It can’t be the tattoos – plenty of folk,
stay or go have those. I answer, yes. I did.
He tongues a hiss. Baaaaaaah! You’ll regret that.
My face is pale. I have not slept.
Perhaps he thinks that I am afraid, but I am only mute
through shock, gagged by employee’s mien.
In ten years, he states, you’ll see a different Britain.
In the staff loos, I see my Polish friend.
She tells me she has been back to see her family.
Two weeks and this is her first day back.
At the airport. My mother. I cried.