Living with the new Normal in Bristol

By Rosalie Alston

Thanks for giving me permission
to wander alone in the city with others.

I’m in a gang with an invisible enemy
all I ever wanted.

Early mornings, I like to take a book
to the fluted wooden bench
where I stare down Brandon Hill
at ship masts, trees and tower blocks.

In the sun, my skin is getting darker
questions of Mischling re-surface
(my father had to go and look at photos
to check if I’d pass).

Look who’s placed a face mask
on Banksy’s Girl on Spike Island.

Let’s string everyone along
that this is any different.

Rosalie Alston has had several poems published anonymously about adoption in anthologies and ‘Australian Child Migrant’ published in Voices Along the Road, an anthology in aid of child refugees. A few of her poems have been published online via the WEA and one as part of a Learning Cities project in Bristol. ‘Living with the New Normal in Bristol’ has also been published on the Poetry Kit Poetry in the Plague Year 2020 website.

This poem is a sideways look at transracial and transcultural adoption and the linked need to wear a metaphorical mask before the pandemic. It was written before Colston’s statue was toppled.

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