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17 February 2021

The NS Poem: Repair is a Failing Trade

A new poem by Ali Lewis.

By Ali Lewis

A dropped paring knife, a tray of potatoes 
in hot fat slipping from the work surface edge. 
A dough overworked. A haircut, one side
then the other, then the first again. I’ve tried
to save so much it would be better to let go. 
A finger opened to the white for a dent 
avoided. A sopping burn to stave off 
a semi-public mess. The losing exchange 
of potential for completion. Beauty chased 
till it got away. So many of mum’s stories 
ended with “and all for”: he swerved and broke 
his neck and all for a squirrel. I asked 
him once, my old games teacher, if he wished 
he’d gone on straight and squashed the bastard flat, 
but words are cheap, and he lied, as you should 
to a child, and he said he’d do the same. 

Ali Lewis is associate editor of Poetry London. His debut pamphlet “Hotel” is published by Verve. 

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This article appears in the 17 Feb 2021 issue of the New Statesman, War against truth