She Mick on JB’s Island (2019)

‘She Mick on JB’s Island’ was published in February 2019 as a supplement to Purge 6: hostile environment edited by Robert Hampson. ‘hostile environment’ refers to the expressed policy in 2012 of Theresa May, then Home Secretary. It was her intention to make the UK a hostile environment for migrants and those seeking asylum. In practice, the implementation of this policy distributed the function of border officials into the everyday work of administrators in hospitals, universities, letting agencies etc. ‘She Mick on JB’s Island’ draws on my mother’s experience of migration to the UK in the 1950s, and folds this with a sense of the limiting of expression, silencing of voices, caused by this hostile environment, and the disproportionate impact of the policy on lives of women.

from She Mick on JB’s Island

IV

“I don’t remember what she looks like,” JB says. “I have no memory of her, The Banshee. I could say she cackled, but it was worse than that, her voice sounded like the way you’d expect an ashtray to speak. She Mick was a very tactile person and it gave her something to concentrate on other than trying not to cry, Mister Mustache found She Mick in the break room applying a coat of lipstick with the help of a small mirror. She had gravel lodged in her throat. So Awkward! I Will Make You Cringe LIKE “butta”, she doubt in me, “take a taxi to me, I will give the direction” said she every family is different, her face was chiselled, but I said it was “sharp”. “Yes, T-t- thank you”, she said on her knees. “Thank you so much, thank you! What can I do to repay you?”, and smiled at the male she asked.

But along the line she felt sick, her body weakened, felt bad and JB’s heart beat faster, inside his room with a bed on the floor, whenever he calls to check on her … JB asked before putting the plate back on her. “Let us see if you did a good job.” Between the desire and the spasm fog we have a less clear idea of what her voice sounded like. Her head brushed the ceiling. “No one move,” boulders rolling down a tailings scree. JB had a long list of other things to say but didn’t. JB is a boy trying to make up for lost time and finds himself losing control.

As she has no idea of my age or appearance prior, I assumed this had no reason to offend her and the tone of her voice sounded like she wanted to discuss more than just our business? The Phantom Menace, or maybe just a hint of vulnerability becomes a weekend from Hell. She had to let him know that she hadn’t meant to, fate stud in her cheek, the piercing girls got to look at, dropped his arm around me. “I knew I could count on you.” There was a brief pause, fog. JB’s voice had a certain triumph in it. “I guess there won’t, She Mick is too sick to think much about it.”