Evan Kleekamp




I wrote a novel about an empty room where you capture several

hours of an ant eating soap on film. It takes a long time, but you

decide there should be a kite caught with its tail in a spool on the

nightstand and a spent reel in the background to mimic the sound of

a page turning in a picture. Outside you say if anyone stands too

close, the movie would be over. When I stood too close, I couldn’t

see. I couldn’t even answer your questions because you never call.

If you stay here, I’ll have to commemorate each cigarette to the

weekends we got too drunk and stood naked by the window and the

evenings when we chased each other out in the rain. I wrote each

page thinking winter and you said no, autumn—so autumn will have

to do even though it was summer all summer long and I rolled down

the volume on the radio because we still had a radio and I never

meant to say I love you when you sat down in the bed of my pickup

truck. Look how nice the icicles on the wire is so much more than

we ever telephoned intending to say. Did you know I tossed a

smooth flat stone across the pond today and sliced a sizeable gash

into the side of my finger? You’re right, the movie is over. Everyone

stood too close. The innermost element of a painting is its stain, but

you say I make you sad sometimes because I still don’t believe in





You call and tell me about the weather in Spain. There are one

thousand nights before we meet and one thousand one hundred and

twenty-four hours that follow. I hate when we are continents apart

because I love the boundaries we eliminate. When the lake’s outline

disappears into the lake, it’s a state of grace, you say. I sense the

arms on your watch pause. I hear the tornados lie down after you

settle them with your hand. There are storm alarms crossing the

ocean and you say this is the only happenstance in our life. I love to

disagree with you. You don’t like that I have shoulder tension and

sneak into the dining room to smoke pot. You say you smell it before

we fall asleep. I don’t remember waking yet. You say there is the

promise of an eclipse but the promise stays glued and blackens over

the sun. I fail to dissolve in your arms and instead absorb them

through a series of photographs we post to the wall in an otherwise

arbitrary sequence. It’s tiring, your fragility, but I love it because it

weakens me. There are batteries we exchange. There is a man in our

dreams who sells raspberries. He claims to love the fire starting on

the top of our scalps. I touch him and your hand passes through my

hand. In your dream he is on fire and in my dream he is you on fire.

There is the flood of cars I dismiss as a banal crisis because they do

not move and you say no and shake your finger. Only then does a

single red mustang ride by and display the image of its hooves. Only

then. Remember how we roved. Remember when we didn’t know

how to cook. How did plants grow back then? Why were we so

concerned with love if we only lost track of each other? You call

and tell me about the weather in Spain. You describe me as a human

body protected by a spade, a shield, a heart revolving around an

endless series of wire circuitry. I love how we love to watch each

other sleep. I remember the whispers in your chest as I open the door

to the fields of slaughter where it is my duty to count the men to be

enlisted among the dead in the world under our world the world of

the living where you beg me again to lower my wings and retire my

sword. It nearly makes me cry. The way you suffer to look at me.

You say you do not want me to play God on the farm anymore. I say

darling I’m so glad that you called but let’s not talk about my

responsibilities. You ask me why I always start with those tilling the

fields and I say because it’s simple when you surrender to the

blonde-tasting grain in your eyes. Through the silence on the other

side of the line I hear you calculating the voice that will ask me why

does it need to hurt so much. There is only the beginning. There is

no answer. You tell me about the headless dogs carried by a chariot

in your dream like mine in the gallery with the too bright lights when

I pour Perrier into your red wine and cringe because it’s another

memory where one of us dies and I’m afraid this time it might be

you. Whatever. I’ll do it over and over again if it means spending

those five minutes with you at the bar with my head sunk into your

shoulder drinking cheap rye as the world tilts on its side and the

incompetent DJ slows time a little bit for everyone. You call me and

tell me about the weather in Spain. I am not sure if I can come home

tonight. In the dream there are skinned lions in the field and there is

the field that takes the color of the lions in the field. You tell me to

draw it in a picture and I send you an angel singing into the wrong

end of his horn. You ask me about the stages of grief and I answer

that your eyes perforate my every lie. Please forgive me. I don’t

mean to be enigmatic. I just always want to be us. Loved and hated

by everyone.



EVAN KLEEKAMP is a writer living in Chicago. His poems and essays have appeared on Adult, Vinyl, Sprung Formal, Ghost Oceanand Drunken Boat.