Slavery in all Shapes, by Maggie Mackay

The tumbling lassie is what they call me.
I’ve no other name. I’m a little girl.
My joints are stiff with dancing,
in all shapes on the stage
at Mr Reid’s travelling show.
He oils them every day.
Tumble, tumble,
three hundred and thirty years ago.
Look hard, look twice now
at the car wash lads and nail bar lassies.
Look hard, take a tumble, give shelter,
for forced labour they may be
and under Scotland’s law
we have no slaves. I was made free.


Maggie Mackay, a jazz and whisky loving poet with an MA from Manchester Metropolitan University, has a range of work online and in print, including the recent #MeToo anthology. In 2017 her poems were nominated for The Forward Prize, Best Single Poem and the Pushcart Prize. Her first pamphlet will be published by Picaroon later this year.

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