Risk watch/wrist watch

Koenraad Kuiper

WristwatchPoems are sneaky but each poem is sneaky in its own way. We could say the same about melanomas. And so, sneakily, just like that, a little volcano on the left arm turns wrist watch into risk watch…

Risk Watch/Wrist Watch

I had a risk watch and time on the back of my left hand.
So I went to Mr Sinclair and he anaesthetized the tight skin,
neatly excised the little volcano and inserted six stitches
like a ladder while we spoke of other things.

So I have now become timeless (except for my risk watch).
To be timeless is to be like the Lord Buddha.
I think of making a stand for my spectacles with a face like Dr Goebbels
which would be in bad taste, or like Groucho Marx, which would not be.

I try to focus on what there is to do
which is always tomorrow so that the past remains
like an excised little volcano.

Tomorrow remains too but it is different.
It has nothing yet, which makes it attractive
when you have no time on the back of your left hand.


Koenraad Kuiper was exported from the Netherlands when he was seven. His family came from Rotterdam. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and currently Adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney. He has published three monographs in linguistics, four textbooks, numerous book chapters and journal articles, and edited two scholarly journals. Alongside the day job he has published four books of poetry at ten year intervals. He has also played second baritone (poorly) in the Sumner Silver Band for some years.

Read Koenraad’s article about Dutch poet and psychiatrist Frank Koenegracht here.

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