Ruth Arnison


Melbourne Museum

Stand there by the polar bear.
Closer. I know he’s touching you,
it’s only for a second. Just ignore him.
Oh for Pete’s sake where’s that kid’s mum?
Wait guys until he moves. Now smile. What? I
don’t know what sort of polar bear it is. Come, on,
we want to see Phar Lap before this place closes guys.

Don’t even think about touching. Yes, he’s stuffed. Hah?
His heart’s in Canberra & Te Papas got his skeleton.
I’ve no idea who has his kidneys, does it matter?
Now stay put. I’m just going to dive into that
shop, they’re selling Phar Lap scarves at
half price. And so they should cos we
saw less than half of him eh.



Ruth Arnison’s poems have been published in literary journals, anthologies, and ezines in NZ, Australia, the UK and US. She is the editor of Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ), an arts in health charity which supplies free poetry cards every season to medical waiting rooms, rest homes, prisons and hospices throughout the South Island. Each edition is also transcribed and bound into Braille booklets. See