My People

by Kim Moore

My People

I come from people who swear without realising they’re swearing.

I come from scaffolders and plasterers and shoemakers and carers,

the type of carers paid pence per minute to visit an old lady’s house.

Some of my people have been inside a prison.  Sometimes I tilt

towards them and see myself reflected back.  If they were from

Yorkshire, which they’re not, but if they were, they would have been

the ones on the pickets shouting scab and throwing bricks at policemen.

I come from a line of women who get married twice.  I come from

a line of women who bring up children and men who go to work. 

If I knew who my people were, in the time before women

were allowed to work, they were probably the women who were

working anyway.  If I knew who my people were before women

got the vote, they would not have cared about the vote.  There are

many arguments among my people.  Nobody likes everybody.

In the time of slavery my people would have had them if they

were the type of people who could afford them, which they

probably weren’t.  In the time of casual racism, some of my people

would and will join in.  Some of my people know everybody

who lives on their street.  They are the type of people who will argue

with the teacher if their child has detention.  The women

of my people are wolves and we talk to the moon in our sleep. 

© Kim Moore