Rachel Long

Two Poems



all my evers have been drinking, the candles unburning,
the hole in the corner, a mould undressing,
opening up.

Each night grows more scar tissue
on the face of a man I can’t recall
the profile of

Since, only two things have made sense:
drinking and walking. Sleeping no, eating no,
speaking not so much.

I see him in my favourite chair, watching me work-out
that dirty smile, I dance for him,
the music grimy.

I see him in the bathroom mirror, spitting mouthwash over my shoulder.
At my front door, framed holy, a carrier bag of groceries for us, dinner.
He passes them to me over the threshold. Heavy,

I lug them into the kitchen,
ready to unpack and anti-bac.
I open each bag, and nothing. No thing.


At First

you don’t eat because you’re happy, so fricking happy,
that way you are in high summer when you can’t
because of the sun. You may have an ice lolly,
reach for water occasionally, but remain laying,
spread-out, on a towel, in the sand, or grass;
you might think about picking up some salad bits later,
maybe, but don’t think on the ingredients, don’t care much
because you’re already so hot, here, here –
That’s what it was, wasn’t it? – in the beginning,
that’s maybe how this time you stopped eating. He was a new sun,
he was high summer – though you met him in winter –
there were so many more bright things to lay with,


Rachel Long’s debut collection, My Darling from the Lions (Picador 2020 / Tin House 2021) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, The Costa Book Award, The Rathbones Folio Prize, and The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award. The US edition of My Darling from the Lions was a New York Times Book Review, and named one of the 100 must-read books of 2021 by TIME.

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