top of page

3 poems by Rachel Rankin

The Swings

One day, they disappeared –

not stolen but taken,

rust-red frame standing

like an empty hug,

a bleeding mouth missing

all its teeth.

Green spaces do wonders for your mental health

I did what they said and went outside

to a field of cows and all their stupid faces.

I burned through the field like piss

through snow: the shit-tinged air,

the milkshake slurp of mud on rubber,

smug little bluebells, jaggy nettles

gripping my shins like fingers. Fuck this,

I said, or would have said, had the wind

not sucked the breath from my throat,

drizzle licking like a drunken snog,

blisters mushrooming, raw skin weeping,

bleach-clean coldness a flame in my lungs.

My eyes dissolve like two pills in a glass.

I move through the world like a gallstone,

a limb on the brink of rejection.

I did what they said and went outside –

a skinful of fire drenched in dew,

a headful of storm-tossed thistles,

napkin flimsy beside those cows,

the shameless bulk of it all.

What I don’t say to my pregnant friend

is that she is now a balloon slipped

from my grip. No –

I don’t show her the span of my palm,

the outstretched cry of my arm.

I swallow my animal heart.

I gift her my bouquet tongue.

I watch the rosy swell of her

rise and rise and rise.

What else is there to say?

There is always too much sky.


Rachel Rankin is a poet and translator based in Edinburgh. Her work has appeared or is

forthcoming in Magma, Gutter, Modern Poetry in Translation and Words Without Borders,

among others. Rachel is the winner of the 2023 Grierson Verse Prize, and she received a

Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award in 2019.


bottom of page