by Mercedes Webb-Pullman

Greg woke uneasy. Dreams
transformed his bed
into a gigantic armor-plated head
divided on top, pitifully thin,
His bedroom lay quiet, its walls
unpacked and spread out,
the picture of a pretty frame.
A lady stole a huge hole.
Her forearm vanished.
Overcast sky
beat gutter melancholy.
Sleep and forget, he thought,
but could not. Violently
he tried his eyes, his legs,
began to feel faint.

Exhausted, irritated,
irregular itching back,
the head easily identified
many small spots
of leg, dew
for a cold shiver.

SOURCE: Opening passage of The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (1915).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I love erasure poems. The first I wrote was for a Silver Birch submission call for Bukowski erasure poems, and I really enjoyed finding other works within the original. I’m now wondering how many different poems I could make from the same text.



Mercedes Webb-Pullman graduated from IIML Victoria University Wellington with MA in Creative Writing in 2011. Her poems and the odd short story have appeared online and in print, in Turbine, 4th Floor, Swamp, Reconfigurations, The Electronic Bridge, poetryrepairs, Connotations, The Red Room, Silver Birch Press, Otoliths, among others, and in her books. She lives on the Kapiti Coast, New Zealand. Visit her at benchpress.co.nz.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTO: Me riding my sister-in-law’s race horse circa 1985. Sunglasses and a hat provide a good mask. A blank stare helps too.