Artist (a poem)


Franz came from Belgium
to weave swirls of espresso
around the coffee machine
at Alimento.

He dances with each cup,
precise yet tender in his choreography.

Swings with a blaze of stubble
flash of an ear ring
sugary beads of sweat.

A painter applying crucial swoops of colour.
Conductor of the most delicate music.

Even in rush hour
stoops to twist the saucer
just so

note perfect.


I just rediscovered this poem about a coffee barista. I wrote it over 10 years ago and I can’t remember where it was first published. I feel like I had a conversation about it with the editor of Poetry NZ at one point, because he helped fine-tune the ending, but I can’t find any issue where it appeared. Oh well. Here it is anyway. It’s nice to be reunited.