• Nabilah Ali

Essential

I see you, even if they cannot see the pain

The way your hands are breaking

To hold the weight, they are placing

As they try to crush the spirit, you are saving


I see your heart, filled with dreams

Filtering in, to carry your sleep

Exchanging them in for the safety net

So, your family are safe and set


I see those tired eyes lacking sleep

To catch more hours in the day

So, more shifts can be booked into place

To cover the costs of surviving today


I see those hands withering away

Breaks of skin, but no blood to stain

Where there is no evidence,

no crime can be placed


I see you upholding the pristine image

To ensure we are aligned carefully

No excuse to be labelled as loud, lazy, or threatening

Safe in the eyes that are accepting


This image of you is essential to them

Viewed via their lens

Your value is then decided, based upon

The essential labour you have provided then


But when its time

To wash away the pain

To feel the anger brewing

finally demanding change, you are craving


They shut off their earpieces

Turn a blind eye to become colour blind

Gaze lowering

And carefully turn the spotlight growing


As they turn their backs to form the wall

Blocking out the hope you came searching for

To be that essential workforce they

Needed but apparently not anymore


When will people of colour be seen

Just as essential as any other being

Not disposable if they break

But human beings allowed to change


So, I tell communities out there

You are essential in every narrative

You are allowed flaws and to be shaken

This does not devalue your right to stay

To feel free, to live in no shame


By Nabilah Ali