Rachel Lewis

Rachel Lewis

On becoming Irish after Brexit

An old man with my features 
reaches from the moon 
to crown me with a ring of stars
matching his white yarmulke. 

Provide further verification.

Another old man with my features 
drifts through the window, 
holding a map on a cocktail tray. 
He picks out the route 
his parents stowed away 
with red pins – 
Petrikev hidden under a train, 
licking pastry flakes from their fingers 
outside Paris Gare du Nord,
staring into the spray on the ferry 
from Liverpool to Belfast – 
suggests I interrail it back. 

Discover that you are 
already an Irish citizen 
born abroad 
if you have one parent 
born here.

My grandfather creaks out of the broom cupboard, 
advises submitting dad as evidence, underlining 
his brogue in green felt tip. 

I submit an empty jam jar 
(Dad’s ashes were scattered).

Print a verification form. 

I turn in the mirror, expecting 
freckles, reddish highlights.  
I shake hands with the ghosts, thank them
for fleeing before the War, 
for never reaching New York. 

RACHEL LEWIS is a poet and facilitator. She is currently writing poetry exploring her family’s connections to the Northern Irish Jewish community. She is a co-founder of the Writing Happiness Project @disabledjoy and a 2021/22 Barbican Young Poet.