Emma Barnes



My secret powers are saying words.

My secret powers open like ovens.

My secret powers shock me.

When I understand your points, that

are points as in pain, I feel it all through

my eyes through me through arms and

feet, through teeth. Through me air

conducts pain like termite mounds.

My inbuilt ventilation system prefers

a day with a breeze. Prefers the air

to move around my outside and right

through me. I am a colony of specialists.

This secret power specialises in crying.

This secret power specialises in taking

things too seriously. This secret power

isn’t really a secret but who is counting.

My secret powers are looking like this.

My secret powers take weekends off.



Emma Barnes is from Christchurch but lives and works in Wellington. She has been published in Landfall, JAAM, Turbine, Catalyst and she appeared in Best New Zealand Poems 2008 and 2010. Recently she had a poem set to music in which you can hear a gong dipped in water.