Tiff’s got me against the school railings, doing
my eyeliner. In double French, I’d whispered,
Your eyes. Will you make mine like that? – slice
through a room, a lie, a man – Break
time her body on mine, stoosh then soft; sugar
on the tongue of all she hasn’t done yet, all she’s
heard she could do. Already, Tiff is a reckoning;
bomb glitter on lids, oil spill on lips, sandwiches
padding her bra. Yeah, the sandwiches.
Thick, white, unbuttered. See, Tiff’s clocked
the boys have clocked the difference between
a tissue and a tit, a sock and a tit, but not quite yet
a tit and a slice of bread. O, girl, you have
opened my eyes, how they weep!
from My Darling from the Lions (Picador, 2020/ Tin House, 2021), © Rachel Long 2020, used by permission of the author and the publishers