Rachel Lewis

The Decision 

She holds the knife over red flesh,
Its roundness straining at thin skin.
She nicks with the serrated blade its edge,
And pauses, and slices her first incision.

The new halves split, peeling apart,
Their several hearts displaying
Great symmetry and difference,
With a pip more here and there.

Two hemipsheres. With every cut
Another and another and another,
Smaller, smaller, smaller, less to hold,
Less space to cut the next from.



Old words sound beautiful
Because we don’t know what they mean.

But then you unwrapped them onstage,
Blue cloths unwound from your arms.

Your conquerors they took your lips, your eyes,
Your gods, but then you held each other,

Not killed by guns and the boys they bear
But shattered beyond all signs of breaking.

O Helen, were your feet broken
From the ground, was your waist chained,
Were you raped with the dancing girls?

You buried your Astyanax
In a cardboard box. Time is collapsed.

There is no story but this story telling
Its retelling, Troy is always falling.


Rachel is a London-based poet. She was previously a poetry editor for the Mays Anthology and now produces live events with Poet in the City. Poetry coming up next in Dawntreader magazine.