Hostile environment procedures, poem by Laila Sumpton
This is a response piece by a ‘roaming’ resident at Who Are We? project.
Hostile environment procedures:
Open your pencil case-
we are scanning your crayons for prints
and before you complete Algebra2
we need your passport or failing that
a blood sample.
Before you buy plimsols we need to know
the soil your feet first stood upon.
Do you have the right skin to drive?
Before we mend your arm we need to know
what first broke your English,
we suspect it may have been your birth.
We may do a special home visit
to check the rest of your lot are not a danger
to the health of our nation.
Before you rent a roof under our British rain
we need to check you understand
Chaucer, custard and cheese rolling in Cheddar Gorge.
If you ever feel you’re being followed
by men in macs and hats with nonchalant pipes
and Casablanca smiles or sense you’re trailed
by searchlights- you’re right.
It’s for our own protection.
Send us your high school diploma
in a jiffy bag thick with cash-
if it’s not well insulated
it won’t get through-
for grades catch pneumonia
whilst travelling. So take
24 carrot shots-
so that you really shine.