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

Snow Poem

By Katie-Alice Constant

Quarantine had formed its skin

Over my house 

Until snow cracked through its epidermis,

Like hermits we tentatively step out. 

Snow under my feet

And then down my back

Laughing and screaming 

The dog bounding, kicking and rolling,

Memories fall thick and fast;

Of snow days and time off work.

Now we have ourselves another great day 

To get away from sticky hands

That bind, run and numb up with the weather,

Hours that are glued, plastered and moulded together. 

Joyous hollers can’t be dumbed or gobbled by quarantine’s rough edged tongue.