Book Lovers

Picture this tryst: Gogol’s nose and Kafka’s roach. When Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from troubled dreams, he found himself in bed with— a nose! Their love all clicks and …

A cover of an old issue of The Walrus
Photograph by Raina Kirn and Wilson Barry

Picture this tryst:
Gogol’s nose
and Kafka’s roach.

When Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from troubled dreams,
he found himself in bed with—
a nose!

Their love all clicks and sniffs,
antennae twisting
in the short hairs.

A cercus might snap.
Every pore’d go
from erogenous to sore.

Something buggy and nasal between the sheets,
while at the door thumps Kovalev.
(Later: He thrust in, etc.)

Though the nose is
the sort of individual
who holds nothing sacred
,

and the roach isn’t much
of a communicator; he speaks in
the voice of an animal.

They’re doomed
to chirps and sniffles,
scrabbles and honks.

But still! The building sneeze!
That symphonic surge,
the roach’s

last breath flowing weakly from his nostrils.
Then the eruption, the gasp, the rupture;
the little death.

Further events here become enshrouded in mist.
What happened after that
shall remain unknown to everyone
.

This appeared in the April 2014 issue.

Pasha Malla
Pasha Malla compiled the 2015 found-poem collection Erratic Passion with Jeff Parker.

Fund the journalism we need now

In turbulent times, it is crucial that reliable media remains available to everyone. From vaccine misinformation to political polarization, the challenges our society is facing today are too important for half-truths. If you trust The Walrus, we ask that you consider becoming a monthly supporter. Your donation helps us keep The Walrus’s fact-checked online journalism free to all.

Tusks