I’m at my desk, daydreaming
a scenario in which, instead
of requiring regular inhalations
of oxygen to stay alive, we have to
breathe in the ease of others to survive

when I hear the wup wup wup
of the helicopter hovering overhead,
a sound that always makes me think
of people who have fallen badly
in the wilderness of Te Urewera,
of Vietnam and that never-met uncle,

but a quick check out the back window
reassures me it’s just Judi next door
moving her electric flymo methodically
across her small rectangle of lawn;
she looks happy enough.


Claire Orchard’s poetry has appeared in Landfall, Sport, Sweet Mammalian, Verge, The Rialto, The Interpreter’s House, Atlanta Review, Mayhem and Best New Zealand Poems. Her first collection of poetry, Cold Water Cure, was published by Victoria University Press in 2016