'Constant' (for M)

It is following you and you can't escape.

You cannot hold your head up or be happy.

You lose your confidence. You turn a corner: it is there.

You cannot step on it; make it disappear.

You are feeling many complicated things.

Dawn raids strike and you are terrified.

You are imprisoned in your own life.

Every time you go to the Home Office, there it is.

They make you feel inhuman. Every word you speak,

A complete lie.  An untruth. You cannot begin

To imagine. It is always there.  Constant.

It is your only companion. There is no freedom.

There is just this fear. You can’t really describe it.

It gets everywhere. It gets in your hair.

Under your arms; between your legs.

It gives you a bad taste in your mouth.

You can see it in your eyes; hear it in your voice.

It is hard to describe. It never takes a break.

When you walk away, it follows you. When you

Stay inside; it stays by your side, so quiet.

It is under your skin. It is your heartbeat.

Never leaves you be. It is you. It is me.

It will stroke your hand when you die.

Jackie Kay 2013