A Measure of Rain


In the tradition of mermaids selling
bags of wind to becalmed sailors,
the city installs a precipitation room. 

Citizens are invited to visit
and make exhibitions of themselves
so she goes to find herself surrounded

by rain falling through hundreds of tiny holes
drilled into the ceiling. Stretching out her hands
she discovers the point at which she ends

is precisely where the rain begins,
that she has become immune, transformed
into a fuzzy cloud, casting soft, silvery shadows.

And so she asks a stranger to take
a snap of her against the backdrop of deluge
to immortalise it resolutely falling where she is not. 

While she waits for them to line up the shot
she rests herself within herself, appreciating
the monumental beauty of this 

manufactured rain pouring, of her being
in the middle of it not getting wet,
of feeling like an artefact 

of mythic and ancient origin,
which is precisely
what she has always been.



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