From Max Brod, Franz Kafka’s Best Friend Who Refused Kafka’s Dying Wish to Destroy

His Work


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.

Bible Story


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

were true.


James O'Leary

James O'Leary is an undergraduate junior at NAU, majoring in English (with a certificate in creative writing) and double-minoring in French Language and Queer Studies. James writes poetry and fiction of varying styles and topics, although he has a specific love for persona poetry, science fiction, and fantasy. Although James has previously had poetry published in The Tunnels, this is his first submission of fiction.
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