The following poem is taken from the anthology Tales of Two Londons: Stories from a Fractured City, ed. Claire Armitstead, Arcadia Books, London, 2019.
I am carrying a big bag full of leaflets
for a Pakistani restaurant called Lahori
There are so many of them, maybe 600
and every one I have to put through a letter box
One huge building on Edgware Road is called Park West
Maybe 800 flats in this one place
So normally I am in there for two hours at least
I always go up in the lift to the very top, floor 8,
And then work my way back down
Today, on the third floor by the stairs
I find a £50 note. And I take it
And I finish the leaflets for the third floor,
and the second one
And the first
And then I stay there, at the main door
next to my bike, and I hold the £50 note in my hand
So that anybody walking by can see it
And I look for people with tension or stress,
who maybe have lost the money
And I watch many different people
From many different countries
Black, white, tall, short, man, boy, children,
two Arab ladies with a lot of shopping bags
Who I have to help through the door
And some people go one way and then come back the other
And I remember the first time I ever came to Edgware Road
When I lost my way as I tried to get to work
And every street, building, house all looking the same
And so today, when I have waited for a long time
maybe three hours
And nobody says that the money is theirs
I decide to give this £50 to charity
For poor people.
And I am happy. But when I get back to the shop
I still have some leaflets which I have not delivered
because I have been waiting all that time, watching people
And because I have to give the leaflets back I get paid less
But not so much. It is all OK
Copyright © Ferdous Sadat, 2018. Reproduced by permission of Arcadia Books.
Ferdous Sadat is a 23-year-old asylum seeker from Afghanistan who arrived in the UK in 2010. He is an active member of Migrants Organise Youth Group. ‘The Leaflets’ was written as part of English PEN’s Brave New Voices programme and published in the A City Imagined anthology (2016).
This poem is featured in the anthology Tales of Two Londons: Stories From A Fractured City, out now through Arcadia Books, and available from all good booksellers.
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