Emma Barnes Click to

BarnesEmma Barnes was born in Christchurch in 1980 and has lived in Wellington for four years. She lives in a historic house that was once a post office in Aro Valley, Wellington. She studied English Literature at Canterbury University and works for New Zealand’s favorite internet company. Emma has been previously published in JAAM, Landfall, Trout, Snorkel and other journals and magazines. She has also been selected for Best New Zealand Poems, in 2008 and 2010. She writes a blog about poetry.

Emma Barnes – Ohio
We make out awkwardly on the bed.
And her shifting weight is a tide or the back of the bus.

Have you seen her lately?
Not since she moved out.

When we go to a costume party together she
wears a lycra body suit and duct tapes a dildo

to her crotch. It bumps against me in the darkness
like a bottlenose dolphin or a chair-lift.

Outside the party she kisses me again, her
costume insistent. She has been dead for

two and a half years. She lay down to sleep
at thirty-six and her heart failed. Like it

failed a test or failed a warrant or failed to
come in to work that day like everyone else.

My fingernail split down to the cuticle and
she climbed into my bed at dawn smelling

of chemicals and the last stand of the hospice.
She moved out on my birthday and I ripped

up the note she wrote. I ripped up the note
she left me that she wrote me, when she left.


Note: A warrant is short for a Warrant of Fitness, which is a regular examination a motor vehicle has to pass to be roadworthy.


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