From Max Brod, Franz Kafka’s Best Friend Who Refused Kafka’s Dying Wish to Destroy
Genius died genius last night
and God, you had problems. I’m watching
what you’ve left me, a renaissance
waiting for bonfire. Like Rome. Greece
by Rome, and so much else: Egypt
and her library, mothers of sons
lost by the century, the legion, daggers
incubating in Caesar’s back. Other editors,
those roaches. They’ll still have
at least one novel, I suppose, on some bookshelf
somewhere, some scathing review. I’m watching your
father’s laughter gloating over your headstone,
your mother’s rage hidden behind business
trips and candles. Here are two novels
collected in papers, like books are
forgotten trees. You’re gone and I’m not feeling
too cold, my friend.
It’s time something doesn’t burn.
After washing my beggar’s feet
you graced me to the lake and walked on water.
Proving it. Everything you’d preached.
I didn’t think of Jesus—or rather, I did,
you like some Holy Ghost stepping harshly,
your dry dress licking a wet wind heaven.
A mythic arrival dawned around your temple,
a seaweed crown of stinging beauty.
You said it
I love you
and all the stories of benevolent gods