His Bottom Lip by Rachel Long

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Photo: Amaal Said

Clitoral, like finding a small, hidden part
of myself in someone else.
Nerve-wet, fleshy
– for a white guy, and stained
between life-lines with red wine
gone black.
Only this I point
with sharpest teeth.
He weighs this up. Eyes roll
over what this means,
how and where it can lead, all the things
it limits.  I think this is his first time
knowing what it is to be betrayed
by a part of his own body.
Lucky.
No other part? He starts, Not even
Be strict. Only this.


Rachel Long was shortlisted for Young Poet Laureate for London in 2014. Her poems have been published in a number of anthologies and magazines including Magma and Synaesthesia. She is one of three poetry awardees on the prestigious Jerwood/Arvon Mentorship Scheme (2015-16), mentored by Caroline Bird. Rachel is Assistant Tutor on the Barbican Young Poets programme (2015-16), and leads Octavia, Poetry Workshops for Women of Colour. She has curated literary events for Deptford Cinema, Clear Lines Festival – raising awareness about sexual abuse and consent, and most recently for Tate Britain, where she invited millennial female poets to respond to Tracey Emin’s ‘My Bed’.
Rachel is currently Assistant Tutor to Jacob Sam-La Rose on the Barbican Young Poets Programme (2015-16). She is currently working on her first collection.
www.writesrachell.com | @writesRachel