Mercedes Webb-Pullman

Surely I’m not a suspect?

Sunday was the last time I saw Jim,
under a sun umbrella with the liberated
penguins from the dawn parade. Fellow
escapees from captivity, we shared
reminiscences, tears, and sardines, as
clever disguises were handed around
and we helped them to change, become
lions, elephants, anything at all except
insects, because of the number of legs.
Far too many peacocks, I thought.
Really, they needed a peahen or two for
authenticity. Their strident challenges
grated. Soon a fight started, and Jim
insisted on being named referee and
legislator. He knew nothing about
icebound courtship rituals, or who
sat the longest on eggs. The peacocks,
talking among themselves, knew it was
insane to go from one form of human
control straight into another. Refusing
emphatically to listen, they formed
X Penguins Rool OK, or XPRO,
pronounced ‘Shaypro’ , and soon made
illegal any trade in feathers. Jim,
almost speechless, fingered the plume
lengthening his Robin Hood cap.
‘I will never give this up’ he blustered.
Down swooped a flock of peacocks,
obscuring Jim and his hat. All quite
chaotic for a while. When the dust settled,
instead of Jim sitting where he’d been,
opposite me, he’d totally vanished.
Under the table, only his broken spectacles
showed he’d ever even really existed.

Yes very alien

Nine dry me
in my ermine finery;
my talent rent a little,
nail gone flinty but a Key
Largo wheel dents deep.
Sheep rings. Loss -
o well. We wire hats
to caps. Otto doesn’t.
Toby leases peas,
Theo leaps leas.
The ales please
and you pee
and they pee
the ease.

Mercedes Webb-Pullman started writing in 2007. She gained her Diploma in Creative Writing from Whitireia, 2009, and graduated from IIML Victoria University with MA in Creative Writing 2011. Her work has appeared in Turbine, 4th Floor, Swamp, Reconfigurations, The Electronic Bridge, Otoliths, Connotations, The Red Room, Typewriter, and Cliterature, among others, and in her books. The latest, The Jean Genie, explores the work of Jean Genet. She lives on the Kapiti Coast, New Zealand.

"Yes very alien" is an erasure poem from Gertrude Stein’s Look at me now and here I am.
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