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Emma Lee

Sep
2016
Thursday 8th
posted by Jody Porter in Arts

Well Versed is edited by Jody Porter


A Shiver of Rain
Emma Lee

On the 4th August 1972, Idi Amin announced that he had asked the British government to take back responsibility for British citizens of Asian origin, whom he accused of sabotaging Uganda's economy, giving them 90 days to leave the country

Why was I shivering?
I was eighteen. It was damp in Stansted.
I was ushered onto a coach for Leicester.
Was it always going to be cold here?

I watched two raindrops. One ran smoothly,
the other forced into zig-zags around obstacles.
Like our dash to Entebbe Airport dodging
roadblocks, losing our van and contents to soldiers.

Leicester city council adverts warned
of queues for housing, schools, health services,
but what are those to a family allowed
only £50 and the clothes they stand in?

My great great grandfather was taken
by the British from India to work on the railways.
At least he knew he had a job.
A heated coach didn't stop my shaking.

Our first night was wrapped in coats
on bare boards. The dark felt warm.
My parents were up with the sun,
working for the status they had before.

I locked the image of those raindrops
in a secure safe. I studied, set up a consultancy,
mentored, networked, worked.
My safe also houses an OBE.

I've been told to go home, but where's that
to a British citizen, African born of Asian origin?
Uganda is foreign to my British born children.
I still shiver but welcome rain.

 

 

Emma Lee's most recent collection is Ghosts in the Desert (IDP, 2015). She was co-editor for Over Land Over Sea: poems for those seeking refuge (Five Leaves, 2015) and reviews for The Journal, London Grip and The High Window Journal.

Well Versed is edited by Jody Porter (wveditor@gmail.com)
Keep up-to-date with newly published poems and other news via our Facebook page.




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