Poetry Books

Let Her Breathe — Collected Poems

LET HER BREATHE is a bittersweet struggle from childhood to adulthood for a woman coming to terms with life in all its ugliness and beauty. Rachel Rees pulls no punches in her poems and short fiction, told through disparate female voices, including her own.

“Palpable. Yes.” – Penelope Todd, author of Digging for Spain: A Writer’s Journey.

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Short Fiction Books

All I Want for Christmas is Revenge

A Dark Christmas Comedy Novelette

When game developers Sarah and Greg are laid off right before the holidays, their Christmas cheer takes a hit. Reeling from the loss, they learn the venture capitalist responsible is heading to Norway on a family skiing trip, and revenge starts sounding awfully sweet. The duo sets out on a clandestine Nordic quest to deliver some old school justice, but can this worldbuilding pair manufacture a real-world takedown or will their imperfect scheming snowball into an epic failure?

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Sample Poems

Tree TrunksBefore DifferenceThe Smell of ReturnTips of ToesThe Pine Cone

Tree Trunks

This is what they call me.

So I giggle—they might ask me 

to join in and play 

if I pretend not to care.

But, they walk past our letterbox 

and up the street, laughing 

into the distance—

I watch them go without shouting 

a word in my defence, 

what would I say anyhow?

Instead, I climb up the thick 

body of the kōwhai tree 

and sit in the fork of the trunk

where two arms splay outward.

I play there with my dolls 

until I’m not pretending anymore.

Before Difference

I want to remember you 

and me as children. Before 

we were bodies in the moonlight.

I imagine the playground at school:

There’s me—I’m at one end 

making daisy chains for friends 

and you’re on the swing 

over there                              

with your legs kicked high               

And hey!  

There’s you at show and tell:

You’re in a pressed and buttoned shirt

playing something beautiful 

on a beaten-up piano

a couple of keys are out of tune

and there’s me again

I’m at the back

singing all the words 

under my breath. 

The Smell of Return

His arms outstretched

His smile  

His navy sailcloth bag 

pinned against his back 

like a shell—

And it rained before

The tarmac smells hot

A remarkable, white heat 

shipwrecked on the road—

I stand at the brown gate

beneath the kōwhai tree

one arm shading my face from the sun

as yellow flowers, like bells, 

sway before my eyes—

He arrives at the gate

Rests his right hand on my head 

I lock my child arms around his waist

and breathe in—

His sweat, like hot tarmac

His whiskey and cigarette breath

His fish, sea and salt-weathered sweater.

Tips of Toes

I once believed

we walked the earth

on equal footing

on equal terms

Now I see

we struggle across sand

on our heels

or the tips of our toes

The Pine Cone

Behold the humble pine cone

More than a female sex organ

She warns you of fire in a dry zone

She sat in the palm of Chicomecoatl

Hid under Celtic pillows ‘til dawn

Behold the humble pine cone

She was ambrosia for relics of a distant time zone

Seed-flesh, scale-bone then carbon

She warns you of fire in a dry zone

A symbol of enlightenment. Wishbone

of the forest floor. Protector of spawn

Behold the humble pine cone

She falls before winter’s groan

Lays bare for you to burn, human

She warns you of fire in a dry zone

In the dark, she lives unknown

In the light, she is turned on 

Behold the humble pine cone

Behold the humble pine cone, fire in a dry zone