After Reading Metamorphosis
After reading Metamorphosis,
he woke a giant spider,
crawled out of bed,
how many legs he had,
eight or twelve,
was beyond him as decider.
Lay sprawled on grubby carpet.
For this, he thought,
I’ve Franz Kafka to thank,
now I’ll never be a
bowler hatted businessman,
civil servant at the bank.
Found he had retained
his human appetite,
sniffed the carpet fibres,
for food trodden by his slippers,
he ached to smell a frying pan
sizzling tomatoes, eggs and kippers,
even licked the legs of chairs,
soon gave up, never ate in his room,
only in the communal kitchen,
down a narrow flight of steep
Started butting the door
with the furry, black soot bag
that functioned as his head,
wished he was not a live arachnid,
still glad he was not dead.
Landlady creaked up the stairs,
each step made a dent,
thumped the door with her fist:
“Are you in there? It’s Mrs Hock.
I’m here for the rent,”
she bellowed, like a gorgon in the mist,
and that is all she said.
His stomach made a growly noise,
wanted to make a human excuse,
that his spare money had been spent.
Then came the nightmare true.
Landlady turned the key.
He legged it up the wall,
and to the ceiling clung.
She bulldozed in the room,
looked up at him, as if she had been stung.
Wanted her to go away,
now she saw him as he was,
he was certain she would come at him
with a hammer and a can of fly spray.
And to think he had planned
to read The Castle and The Trial,
no more books by Franz Kafka,
even if he did write well, made him think,
and oddly made him smile.
Was then he woke,
human, pale, cold and dry.
Won’t read a book like that again,
he vowed, no more transformation dramas,
glad to see his window framed
the grey early morning sky.
Creaky boned, he fumbled out of bed,
drew his yellow mothy curtains,
and looked through his smudged glass window,
felt thin and hollow in his rumpled
dark moss green pyjamas.
What an existential nightmare, he thought,
as he planned his summer visit to Peru,
to see the Andes, Inca ruins,
and to ride about on llamas.