Rachel Burns

Hit me with your rhythym stick

Dad drinks a pint of Newcastle Brown
feet sticking to the floor,
the room thick with fag smoke.
Dad 70’s cool, beard & sideburns & swagger.

Student’s Union where he first met
Wilko Johnson & later drove him
from gig to gig in his VW van.

The Student’s Union where Mam met Dad
in her denim bell bottoms
cork platform shoes,
long hair past her waist, swishing
like a curtain when she walked.

Dad handing Mam a bucket & a mop
to clean out his van.
The same van, Mam later tells us,
he drove to Afghanistan to buy brown.

Dad who walks in from work
stiff in his shirt and tie.
We watch Wilko on Top of the Pops
he struts his stuff, hit me!

Wilko playing it cool on guitar.
I tell Tony Singleton at school.
Tony shouts, liar, liar, liar & hits me.

Rachel Burns is widely published in magazines including The Friday Poem, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Butcher’s Dog, The Rialto, The Moth, and Magma. Her short stories are published in Signs of Life, an anthology edited by Sarah Sasson, and Mslexia. She came second in The Julian Lennon Prize for Poetry 2021 and was longlisted in The National Poetry Competition 2021. Rachel was awarded an Arts Council DYCP grant in 2023. She has facilitated poetry workshops for the Ginkgo Prize, Spelt Magazine and Creative Future.

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