Mercedes Webb-Pullman ~ Grendel

My grandmother’s dragon lived
in her kitchen stove, with a black
lighthouse on the oven door.
Grendel breathed flames
and burned if you came too close.

When Grandma baked
she fed pine twigs so the fire
spat and roared, while flour,
sprinkled on an oven tray,
darkened from white
through cream to brown,

hot enough for scones
just before black;
then Grendel starved
and fell silent, smoldering.

Sometimes when I wake
from a dream, as it drains away
I think I can hear

some half-forgotten
starving thing,
still patiently breathing.


First published in Walt’s Corner, a poetry column in The Long Islander founded by Walt Whitman 1839.


Mercedes Webb-Pullman graduated from the International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand with her MA in Creative Writing. She is the author of Tasseography (2014) Track Tales (Truth Serum Press, 2017) and The Jean Genie (Hammer & Anvil Books, 2018). Her poems, and the odd short story, have appeared online (Bone Orchard Poetry, Caesura, Connotations, Danse Macabre, The Electronic Bridge, 4th Floor, Main Street Rag, Otoliths, Reconfigurations, Scum, Swamp, Pure Slush, Turbine, among others) and in print (Mana magazine, Poets to the People; Poetry from Lembas Cafe 2009, The 2010 Readstrange Collection, PoetryNZ Yearbook, many anthologies from Kind of a Hurricane Press, and the Danse Macabre anthologies Amour SombreBelles-Lettres, Hauptfriedhof, and Weihnachtsmarkt (Hammer & Anvil Books, 2017 & 2018). She has also won the Wellington Cafe Poetry contest in 2010, and wrote a foreword for their collection of 2012 contest entrants, which included another of her poems. Since then she has been awarded 3rd prize in United Poets Laureate International Poetry Contest 2015, and is particularly proud of having a haiku (the only one from New Zealand) in 100 Haiku for Peace, an international publication in five languages. Her lucky number is 8. Blue. She lives in Paraparaumu Beach, New Zealand.

Mercedes Webb-Pullman is Danse Macabre’s 2019-2020 Artist-in-Residence. More of her captivating poetry will appear Sundays this month and through the Ides of March in both Danse Macabre & DM du Jour. Previous Artists-in-Residence include Peter Weltner and Peter Marra.

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