This is the title poem from ‘A Presentment of Englishry’ which is published in March 2019 by Shearsman press in the Uk.
A Presentment of Englishry in the 11th century was the offering of proof that a slain person was English (therefore unimportant), in order to escape the fine levied upon hundred or township for the murder of a ‘Frenchman’ or ‘Norman’. The question the speaker in the poem is contemplating is ‘Are you English’. This is rarely if ever a neutral question and therefore never an easy one to answer.
The poem first appeared in the Quarterly review.