Sarah Barnett is a museum professional who lives and works in Wellington, New Zealand. She finds inspiration for her work in the audio and visual jumble that typifies New Zealand life. Her work has recently been published in The Christchurch Press, Catalyst and Takahe.
finding my father my grandfather, a butcher smoked himself to death in this house when he died you sat on our brown corduroy couch and held your face together you tell me not to expect much. Ravensbourne has streets I fear to drive, we ask a man for directions, his grandson twists at the hip. I remember the basement where I pick your face from a photograph, grey and uniform where the wire washing line spreads its arms to embrace a backyard lush with silence; my heart feels ashamed to beat slipping into palmerston there is a slow melt each day rains absentminded of the last when I slid my car nearly coming to terms with a fence stippled hills painted green with sheep chipped into the side and the coppers pull over just to be sure just to be sure my tongue numb I snatch my feet from the ground eyeing the grass twisted in my tracks cuba mall red is the colour that makes a bull charge red is the man foot taps, raps the yellow lines rocking onto the balls of my feet the traffic a dynamic movement exclusive adults shop the triple X the king kebab a midnight espresso plugs a sink filling at my back hey mate how's the day? can't stop the clock studded girl belted, leans black against a park bench a patch of urban eczema all heads twitch antelopes watching a lotus growl past too old she says he says they say with silent headphones to each individual beat racing faces, sunglasses and skeletons hands pocketed with hooked thumbs through denim a loop or swing to a jazz chord from the upstairs window, or is that hip hop discord? playing hop scotch I throw the jack a red, yellow and green disc red is the colour we bleed yellow is the colour we age and green means go winter winter came today bringing cold slick drops on rust bricks; the wind has blown all the houses down from the trees overhead the kereru recites aa eh ee or oo in the morning the mist rolls in from the river the crown, a sweetened coming each taillight a red eye that winks through grilles on the bridge the sky is soaked with feathers that fall, to cloak the ground, and I wonder what bird did god kill for this night? the kereru calls tino rangatiratanga easter in auckland monday is bitter waking, curled in a strangers bed we shower in the rain, eat crushed banana for breakfast the motorway rolls with my stomach, the moon has come out for the sun you say a gesture I show you the littered harbour sails, like cocktail umbrellas play the harmonica across the bay the city lies down at my command a dog sterile salt air rushes over my shoulder I take a pinch honeymoon we walk to lovers leap brushing the tussock with our hands it swallows down to a chopped ocean, gaping wide in horror or surprise both aural and vaginal in warning the sky clouds over and the train is bursting pinstripes occupied in bubbles of personal space swaying down the aisle a man slumps his grip thick with absorption he chews his lip; he can’t wait to see how it ends chinese water torture he has gone the bed sheets lie flat on his side a slow quietness leaks to fill the next room between my palms wet, beneath my nails he has gone I put my fingers in my mouth and suck hard