Jackie Kay by Claudia Alonso (2015)

Jackie Kay by Claudia Alonso (2015) University of Salford Art Collection

‘Where Are My Keys?’ New poem by Chancellor Jackie Kay

Professor Jackie Kay CBE, University Chancellor and Scots Makar, is sharing a series of poems with colleagues, students and members of the public, reflecting on the current period of uncertainty that we are in.

This week, Jackie has shared the poem ‘Where’s My Keys?’, which is written in the voice of a woman in a care home who has dementia.


‘Where Are My Keys?’

There’s a man coming towards me with a mask on his face.

He’s got a green suit on. I don’t know what he wants.

My nose has been blocked for days. I need out of this place.

I need to get back home. Where are my keys?

There’s a man coming towards me with a mask on his face.

Do you know my address? I live near the Cross.

I’ve been here for days and days and days.

I’ve got things to do. I need to find things a place.

There’s a man coming towards me with a mask on his face.

I can’t hear a single thing he says.

I haven’t seen my grandchildren for an age.

They would come sometimes and kiss my old cheeks.

There’s a man coming towards with a mask on his face.

I can’t hear a single thing he says.

He wears gloves. He feeds me things I can’t taste.

Where’s my husband? He was in the human race.

There’s a man coming towards me with a mask on his face.

I saw a face at the window, wanting in – waves, waves.

Do you know how to get out of this place?

I want home. Where are my keys? Where are my keys?

There’s a man coming towards me with a mask on his face.


Copyright Jackie Kay. Reprinted with kind permission from the author.


Don’t miss Jackie’s new weekly series of online literary and musical performances which launched on Thursday 14 May at 7.00pm. ‘Makar to Makar’ will showcase a line-up of established talent and emerging voices from Scotland and around the world. Read more about ‘Makar to Makar’ here.

Follow Jackie on Twitter @JackieKayPoet to hear a new poem every Sunday.