Hotel Art, Barcelona

We’re eating roses on a rooftop. The Med beneath us. 

They serve clouds here too, I say.  

Light starter? Wink. 


Are they fluffy or black?  

The waiter doesn’t answer.    


Every table is white except ours.  

We sit at a naked woodblock. Antique; 

There’s enough of an age gap here,  

need they have added 200 years?   


The razor clams arrive in straight lines.  

What’s the matter? 


We discuss kids. Maybe it’s the wine, 

or because my belly is beginning to push 

against the bones of my dress. You say,  

I don’t think I’ll identify with a brown son. 


Excuse me, I stand,  

spill your sparkling water.  

You only notice your steak. 


Contorting myself three ways in the toilet mirror,  

I decide I won’t look like this forever.  

I don’t even look like this now.  


Dessert is air from a porcelain pump.  

What if he has your eyes? I dare,  

after another glass.  


Back in our borrowed bathroom, I throw up rose foam,  

a blade of grass. Who says he isn’t a daughter?  


I join you on the balcony. You hold me from behind,  

lean us over, count… 

We’re as many storeys up as our age gap.  


Why do you always have to  

Shhh. You lift my dress. I shoulder-width my legs, 

is love not this? ─ gripping a fence in the sky.  

from My Darling from the Lions (Picador, 2020/ Tin House, 2021), © Rachel Long 2020, used by permission of the author and the publishers

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Rachel Long is the founder of Octavia Poetry Collective for Womxn of Colour, a ‘fiercely community-minded’ collective formed in direct ...