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Cassandra Barnett

Because the thin, breathable membrane

Because the waxing, waning glow, coloured with the colour of its skin

Because Papatūānuku, bearing you up in her grasp 

Because fresh air replacing itself swifter than scented soaps in a hotel room, just for you

Because at dusk and dawn you become bird

Because communal living, becoming village, becoming nomad, becoming pilgrim,

becoming itinerant, becoming caravanserai, becoming horde

Because solitude, becoming hermit, becoming sadhu

Because cuckoo’s nests & chrysalises & tardises

Because romantics, idealists, conquerors & all the others await you, are available options

for you, underpin you, colour all of your view, colour it rose, colour it white, colour it


Because you’re unafraid of dust or rain or sun 

Because refugee camps never choked the living life from you 

Because of your privilege, your uncertainty, your childhood

Because you were incubated for a week at birth

Because when you put your whiteness into a tent you taste the rich turkish delight succour

of perpetual metamorphosis & freedom & want more

Because when you put your brownness into a tent you taste the rich turkish delight

succour of perpetual metamorphosis & freedom & want more

Because a velvet voice cracked with the seasons is singing for you, placing warm hands

on you, dreaming this dream with you, & dreams are real

Because fresh air & birdsong are goodness in a cup, no matter that the air & the birds

themselves are changing spots, changing hue

Because behind the dunes the ocean roars 

Because you make your shell of bioplastics, plant a carpet of mint for a bed, sleep a

thousand days & nights, awaken far from everyone then quietly die, one more aphid

received into the soil with an impact beseechingly small, breathing dirty relief that no

one but the trees need know: You just wanted to be alone

Because when you revive, gasping It’s not true! Friends, come back! it’s so nice inside that

they do, they come, if not for you then for themselves

Because when you hold your son at bedtime how he kicks and thrashes & you want to be

a million miles from there never being harassed again, and you want to be right there

forever holding him, and this paradox of holding and escaping is the angle of your

longing, is what you run from and what you run to, & now the vertigo of being caught

between places can be externalised, made into a place just for you

Because the ocean roars not at you but for you, unruffling your crumpled brain, smoothing

furrows, raking the garden back to zen

Because the waxing, waning glow, colored with the colour of its skin

Because the thin, breathable membrane 

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