Neu!Boots DAY TWENTY-FOUR – Sarah Westcott


after Michael Rosen’s ‘Fascism – I sometimes fear’

It does not come in steel-capped boots
with dogs on chains and loaded guns
it does not wear a uniform
it is chameleon

It likes black and white
Sans Serif
lives in superstores and coffee shops
swings on playground gates
knows the popular kids,
lies amongst the daffodils

underfoot and in our hands
in our gags, pockets, fists,
it likes to be close to us
whispers down the lines

round and round
it holds its tail in its jaws
it holds something like a flag in its jaws
and it will not let go

it is very old
it is very old and it blinded itself

Oh it does not come on the ferry
or fall from planes or hide in the back of vans
it does not need to hide
it is very poorly

I’ve seen it everywhere – just today
at the corner shop with the crisps and cards
I saw it there but I would not hear
I smelt its breath I saw its red mouth moving
heard the echo echo echo


Sarah Westcott’s first collection, Slant Light, was published this spring by Pavilion Poetry, an imprint of Liverpool University Press. ‘Inklings’, a poem from her book, is highly commended in this year’s Forward Prizes.

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