No 26 - 2005
Mrs Kafka's Dilemma
While he was busy with his studies,
she noticed a subtle transformation in her -
when she sneezed, butterflies flew out of her nostrils,
she laughed and music followed with a spectacular
laser show. Weeping had the same effect
though the sounds and colours were sombre.
Her clipped nails she sold as rice-pearls
and her tears as precious moonstones.
All this amused her, made her popular.
The trouble began the day he metamorphosed
into an insect. On the same day wherever
her hair fell, they turned into snakes.
Since then a strange terror seized her -
she could finally get rid of him, perfect murder,
but could not imagine other men fancying her.
Annoyingly, part of her was in love with Franz;
although she could never be sure which part.
She covered her head with a thick black lace,
plaited her long hair tight; refused to stir
out of her room, kept her door locked;
wore herself out hiding the wretched
creatures in her washing basket
each time they mysteriously appeared -
luckily they were harmless in her hands -
before despatching them to the neighbouring forest
swearing her trusted maid to eternal secrecy.
She dreaded her husband coming to see her,
fearing that sooner or later, her own hair
would betray her; she would be proven a liar
for confessing her snake-hair devoured her partner,
that she herself was innocent in this matter.
Perhaps, her maid would vouch for her?
But what if they did not believe her either.
If she could keep her counsel and pretend
she knew nothing about his disappearance,
could she then enlist the silence of her maid?
The uncertainty of it all quite simply destroyed her;
she knew not when these strange things would stop happening
Nor could she predict the violence of her thoughts
if she saw a snake mating with a beetle before eating it?
If only she could clone him, she thought...
- 10th Muse
- Angel Exhaust
- Blithe Spirit
- Brando's hat
- Brittle Star
- Cannon's Mouth, The
- Coffee House, The
- Dream Catcher
- Floating Bear, The
- French Literary Review, The
- Frogmore Papers, The
- Global Tapestry
- Grosseteste Review
- Homeless Diamonds
- Interpreter's House, The
- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
- London Magazine, The
- Modern Poetry in Translation
- Monkey Kettle
- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
- North, The
- Obsessed with pipework
- Oxford Poetry
- Painted, spoken
- Paper, The
- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
- Poetry London
- Poetry London (1951)
- Poetry Nation
- Poetry Review, The
- Poetry Salzburg Review
- Poetry Scotland
- Poetry Wales
- Private Tutor
- Purple Patch
- Rain Dog
- Reach Poetry
- Review, The
- Rialto, The
- Second Aeon
- Seventh Quarry, The
- Smiths Knoll
- Strange Faeces
- Tabla Book of New Verse, The
- Tolling Elves
- Ugly Tree, The
- Wolf, The
- Yellow Crane, The