The Trial of Klee’s Cold City
“But the hands of one of the partners were already
at K’s throat, while the other thrust the knife
into his heart and turned it there twice.” (The Trial, Franz Kafka)
Over three moon--filled faces, wee clock
strikes out toward 5 a.m. Some flats
triangulate; others miss proximity.
open to rectangular hollows -- squared
owlish peering. Who troweled brick on
block, on slab? Who formed stone
scaffolding before excising, before
consorting with infinity?
Here, Kafka waits
on his clock; K lies athwart his supine vale.
Death’s angel, the pigment of dying, the moon-
tinged blade above K’s chest – Klee effaces –
as it passes to and fro --
from one pair
of hands, from one avowal to slay, to another.
Here, the stain of K’s executioners – engrained
in constructs like judges in verdicts
They wait on K to plunge his fate
into himself. Here, Klee waits on me. Even so,
a glow – white, and green, pale as winter grass,
as if this city once lived, as if help abides
in crannies and seasons.
Left, a tree, as from
a child’s plot, grows a humble proposal –
respite from faces mist from glass; from
missing caught in missing streets; from
missed steps, rings and knocks; from
misbegotten and misbecome; from
mistaken and misère.
umbilicals cut and cold as afterbirth
in a receptacle. Yet the tree remains –
perhaps transcribed from human form;
perhaps could love – if limned with arms,
hands, fingers; if writ, to branch beyond itself.
Theodore Eisenberg is married, with four children and six grandchildren. He retired from the practice of labor law in 2014 to write every day. His poems have appeared in The Listening Eye, Midstream, Jewish Literary Magazine, The Aurorean, Podium, Poetica, Thema, Rattle, Halfway Down the Stairs, Slipstream Press, Crosswinds Press, Lighthouse Literary Journal, Main Street Rag, concis, The Ragged Sky Anthology, Philadelphia Stories, and The Ekphrastic Review. Two poems have been accepted for publication in 2019 by Aji Magazine. His chapbook, This, was published by Finishing Line Press in March, 2017.
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