Kafka On Vacation
by Karen Greenbaum-Maya
When Kafka returns to Prague, his flight lands at the Kafka International Airport —KIA, a word like the cry of twenty jackdaws. Kafka’s wife and daughters expect him to know his way around in this place where he is so well-known. He looks for his flight’s baggage carrousel, #4, but there are only three.
He shows the guard his family’s group passport photo. “How happy, how handsome, how complacent!” exclaims the guard. “Yet they must know that the world was never made for them. Their bland faces are truly Kafkaesque.”
As the Kafka family walks through the airport looking for an exit, they pass many souvenir shops. There are Kafka lunch pails, Kafka distorting mirrors, an unauthorized Kafka memoir. One shop sells a headband with ears resembling his own jug-handle ears. There is nothing Kafka can do about it. He has already discovered that his credentials are not valid here…
Karen Greenbaum-Maya is a clinical psychologist in Claremont, California. She has been writing since she was nine, but didn’t start sending out work until a few years ago. In another life, she was a German Lit major so that she could read poetry for credit. For five years, she reviewed restaurants for the Claremont Courier, sometimes in heroic couplets, sometimes imitating Hemingway. Her poems and photos have appeared in venues including Poemeleon, Off the Coast, qarrtsiluni, The Dirty Napkin, San Diego Cityworks Press 2009 (Hunger and Thirst), Umbrella Journal, New Verse News, Lilliput Review, and O Tempora! O Mores!, whose editors nominated her poem for the 2010 Pushcart Prize.
Poem © 2010 Karen Greenbaum-Maya. All other content copyright © 2010 Abyss & Apex Publishing.
Art Director: Bonnie Brunish