Sarah Jane Barnett

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The Forest

You were hurt, she says. I was running towards you but the forest floor was moving. He hands her the scissors and she cuts out a tiny bird traced onto cellophane. They pass the time making model trees from newspaper. A twisted trunk is stapled to a puffy canopy. As she tells him about the dream he frowns and begins to talk about New Zealand's native daisy. The largest in the world. Leaves so soft they're used for toilet paper in an emergency. He has never seen it, she thinks, but there it is. Her tree is tall and branching. She has used the colourful fashion pages for the leaves so they bloom with poised limbs, dresses and high heeled shoes. What would you do if you found me? he asks. She tries to remember. Her first aid training has decomposed. Tip the head. Manipulate the airways.

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