Rachel Burns




White Noise

You are drunk singing downstairs
and I’m reading a book by Deborah Levy in bed.
I’m inspired, it makes me want to buy an electric bike
and wish I had a friend who’d loan me use of her
shed to write & offer me Havana rum. I can hear
the song from the musical playing intermittently
on a loop. A happy-clappy, golden era song
designed to cheer people up after the war
and it reminds me of the films I watched
with my grandfather as a child.

We had thirteen at dinner today
twelve chairs and a high chair
and I tried not to be superstitious
even when your mother refused to pull
the wishbone. I know she passes on making a wish
every year and it has nothing to do with the cancer
or chemo or being sick.

The baby laughs and hand waves to a song
she remembers and everyone laughs
and hand waves with her
so she does it even more.

The television is stuck on a loop
the trailer from the musical, playing over and over
happy-clappy, golden era.
I should go down and switch it off
but I’m scared of the white noise.



Rachel Burns has poetry published in Crannog, Poetry Salzburg Review, Algebra of Owls and is anthologized in Poems for Grenfell Tower, Poems for the NHS and #MeToo. She has a poetry pamphlet forthcoming with Vane Women Press.

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