Sunday after Brexit

I can’t speak
to anyone today
because behind kind eyes behind
“Turned out nice” and weekend plans
there could lie
a cruel cross
dropped in ballot box with huff
of self applause, with muttered
“Enough’s enough.”
tremble like a moth
at the way a word, a thought mis-phrased
could pull it from you now and mark
in stead of neighbourhood, a line
of conflict, of your victory.

would not see it, not
have it made plain, would not
have you say you’re
not being funny, but
not a racist, but
We’re full, We’re done, We
want it back, We
want out country back.

From who?
Words hover as I pause
unspeaking and unable
to give customary greeting as
you cheer, applaud and push from you
thoughts of thugs in Union Jacks
of jack boots at the door at dawn.

But no, clear eyes, you reassure,
You don’t mean it like that as
my kin are jostled in the street,
My friends told “pack and go home” and
across the world
fifty dead on a nightclub floor.

Where are your words, then
for these things? Where
your anger
at those you march beside, the ones who
do not flinch
from words like gyppo, paki, kike?
Because I flinch. I fear and weep
race-haunted by cattle cars and rails
to towns where birds don’t sing
by family names we
hid and changed, by
brown skin, brown eyes, black hair

You have no words for that,
just nodding certainty that you –
Yes, you and yours
would not do that
to mine and me, that
you do not mean this track to end
in ash, gunfire and walls, that
you just heard the words of demagogues
talking up an imagined cross until
you carried it to
the ballot box while you swore that,
no, you don’t mean it like that,
it’s never going to end like
that and I
I cannot speak today for
I have not words to say
yes, yes I know.
And that’s how it begins.