A Question of Art


We uncovered the lost
Fountain of Uselessness
on Cuba Street

where coloured buckets
chuck brackish water
at each other

and it is a prerequisite
of baristas to wear beards
like Edwardian cricketers.

Their caffeine stares pour
round stains on tables,
reminders of conversations

caught in transit over
Organic Cuban
Fairtrade coffee.

We speak of obesity in children,
plastic on beaches, the
unswimability of rivers

while you study dregs
as they spread like
the dark marks on your arm.

Your chipped cup leaves
the bitter black bruise
of an unspoken circle

and we return to the
unsuitability of buckets,
the question of art,

and unbroken rings on tables.


Tim Saunders farms sheep and beef near Palmerston North. He has published poetry and short stories in the NZ Listener and Flash Frontier, and won the 2018 Mindfood Magazine Short Story Competition. He performs poetry around the Manawatu and beyond.