Joan Fleming


Mount Cook

Did the milkman come today? Says her flatmate from inside the fridge, the one she looks upon with disdain because he gels his quiff and he whistles. Stop living in plaid, man, she says. We’re all our own milkmen now. She sleeps in fluorescent t-shirts that pain the eyes of anyone close enough to watch her swallow. Anxious evenings like a lukewarm bath she can’t run the tap on because it might turn colder. Not fun to be me some days, she says. I don’t even like milk.



Joan Fleming’s work has appeared in Best New Zealand Poems 08, Sport, Turbine, Hue & Cry, The Lumiere Reader, Moving Worlds and Takahe. She lives in Golden Bay, New Zealand, where she tutors creative writing and grows lettuces. She has just completed a book of prose poems — her first.

Of ‘Mount Cook’, she writes: “I like prose poems. They’re small and deceptive, like something between a dense vignette and an image with side dishes. The ones I’ve been writing are like little fictions — a bit surreal, mostly human, and totally driven by language.”