and They say that she is lawless; banish her! banish her all.

because she dares to request a capital, to be a name and soul – You’re Not The Only One Who’s Been Forgotten, love – she isn’t forgotten; forgetting and forgotten might be nice; she’s recalled by her arms, and legs, and lumps of fat,

and her heart. the organ which pumps her names: love, sweetheart, babe; like the names of sweet-smelling fragrances lined up in a shop-window, sometimes bought, mostly used for a couple of spritzes and placed back on display.

do you remember the song for magpies; she has her own: one for a heart; two for a mouth; three, four, five for body, body, body

so she gathers, with tens and hundreds of ones like she; they ask for pennies from a sea of gold, they ask for bricks in walls, grains on beaches, drops in oceans. may she be Shera or Hazel or Charlie; one for a name, a brain; two and more for just the same – and for the luxury of difference, all the same.

Too Much, They advance in chants; Let’s Be Reasonable, Their slogans catch on the tongue; Their eyes are dry (power is always parched) and Their voices remain calm, measured – You Forgot Your Pleases and Thank Yous; the even beat of Their boot-shod feet,

Their necks made tight by the chains of a collar (god forbid They be the prisoners). let us not forget: she used to be the jewel in Their lockets, on Their crowns; helped tie the laces of the tramplers (she too had boot-shod feet; the trodden can trod). the function of freedom is to free someone else,

Morrison had said it first. she listens now. do They?

By Zadie Loft

Photograph credit: Victoria Jones/PA

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