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Lucinda Staniland
New Zealand

Lucinda grew up in Christchurch, and currently lives in Arrowtown and Wellington. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria University in Modern Languages and Religious Studies, and has also studied creative writing and Te Reo Maori.
Meditation #4

You are in a field.
It looks very much like a field you have been in before.
It looks very much like a field you never expected to find yourself in.
It looks very much like home.
The hills here are so dark they might as well be treacle.
They might as well melt.
They might as well not be there at all.
The field is bigger than anything you could have imagined, yet smaller.
There is a cold wind on your face, and under your feet you can feel
the prehistoric squelching of the land.

You observe the growth of the chestnut trees,
and the light rings on the black spruce.
You watch as everything grinds down
into fine particles of earth and
you see, finally, what you came here to see.

Planes. I’ve been missing them.

The first time it was because a man
you both admire and despise was
trying to sell me shoes, and he took
a long time looking for the right size.
They were black leather ankle boots
with red and orange feathers. He
couldn't find them in the end, and
although I  took the risk and rode
my bike fast down the stone steps
I was still too late. The next time it
was my own fault. I went to the
school quiz and couldn't leave. But
I had to pack. I was frantic and
impossible and I found a woman
hiding behind our bathroom door.
At first the door wouldn't open
properly, kept pulling away from
my hand like it was on a spring. But
I knew what it was. I put my hand
out into the darkness and gasped
when I felt her softness. Even in the
dark you could see right inside her
broken face. She was holding a
chocolate cake. My flatmate was
doing something evil, and it was
all to do with the dance class he
was holding in the next room. The
taxi never came and I couldn't
help her. I was walking very fast
but there was no way I was going
to make it. My suitcase was very
light, almost empty, but still,
too late, too late, too late, too late.

Not waiting up for you

They are just excuses to be closer to the soft curve of your skull
and your warm back. I know your mouth will taste like vanilla,

sweet. You have been drinking without me. Mostly beer. I can’t
see your face but I want to feel your mouth brushing my shoulder

and to wrap myself around you from all directions. Get into bed.
Your hips, your long legs, your knees holding mine. I’m cold.

I’m asleep. Don’t we fit together so well? It will be morning soon
but for now we are safe. Come closer. I’m tired of pretending.

The quiet goddess

It’s that glittering kind of earth
dust sand shale slate you know
the one that falls between my
toes now catching on black
painted nails and synthetic
black lace knickers soon to be
taken off and my irrational skin
record of shade heat my tie dye
singlet biking into the sun
uniforms forgotten sunscreen
and not caring. Getting back up
will be less elegant. I will be wet
everything will cling to me suddenly
abrasive and I will have to haul ass
literally with one leg thrown over
the edge hands relying on grass and
lupins for strength giddy with lack
of grace and my body existing straining.
But for now I slip down out and in the
glittering earth cascading with me the
river flowing towards me keeping on
nothing but my skin. I wonder who
keeps me company as I go. What nice
boy has forgotten to meet me here?
What excuses have I made? What
goddess is beside me tonight? I
notice that her toenails are black
like mine her wings discreetly folded
and her heartbeat so quiet I could
have missed her. A quick smile hovers
in the air between us a bird skids
across the water confused fast and
fallen and all three of us slip under
together losing our breath as we go.


There were elephants
there that day,
and something about
their long eyelashes
and ears,
made me remember

how once I saw,
a floating swirling something,
circling slowly over the valley.
It was gold flecked 
in the afternoon sun,

expanding and shifting,
like something breathing,
or breaking apart. 
Maybe it was birds,
but I could never be sure.
I thought maybe it meant
it would snow soon.

Have you ever seen
a baby porcupine?
I have. In a picture,
small naked things,
three of them,
spiraling inwards.

Mere & Child - Penny Howard