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2 poems by Rachel Lewis


Half past five is blaming itself for falling to pieces;

it’s lying in eight pieces in the bin, and wakefulness

is splattered all over the splashback of drowsy terraced houses,

parakeets divorce over who put the empty milk back in the fridge,

crows belch themselves awake, retasting last night’s loss,

tiny interchangeable songbirds loop like ignored phone alarms for boiled eggs,

and pigeons whoop whoop woo from the rooftops,

trying out new positions on the chimney pots.

The garden trees just shrug one shoulder at a time,

modelling new textures as the spotlight moves,

chartreuse chiffon, verdigris linen, carbuncle lace,

encouraging each other, this one’s got potential, don’t you think,

its stillness bites and when it moves it tickles,

there’s life in this one yet, oh go on, do get up,

electric tongues of touch urging, caressing

each other’s roots teasingly under the earth.

Trying to hide

Alone I cut my nails on your sheets,

polyester sheets, imitation wood bed,

gilded nails, all bought with

data echoing real homes.

Meanwhile the cat wears my fitbit,

you my heartbeat monitor…

this is how I will appear…

my apps tilt like an empty frame.


Rachel Lewis is a poet and facilitator living with mental illness. Her poetry makes space for conversations around recovery, survival, and finding joy through family, friendship and community. Her first pamphlet won the Wordsmith Prize and she is a current Barbican Young Poet. She can be found @rachel_lewis_poet on instagram and twitter.


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