Like gold. Like an almost infinite number, the water and the walls, how

rare, unknown pieces would fit. We wrote what seems like forever:

love poems, letters, petitions, small ads

Do not stop

like singular pairs of hands that tried to link water


–   We did not want to come up with something  –

The coastline where we have always been standing


The erosion beneath us tickled, we fell and held and fell

and held. I wake up sometimes with craving in mind,

whiplash cravings, contrary-craving, life-is-long-craving











Craving. Promises stored. Sandbanks move. Overcrowded

and overridden. These places, international airports, make me

always so soft and sensitive. I pretend not to notice. I listen to wind

in sun-drenched rosebushes


– Talk about it as slowly as possible –


Sudden body. Lingering wind. Barters away. It blows within my

body. My homosexual body goes to pieces











Spring sun penetrates the snow as we cycle across the yard.

Knee-deep in snow melt, I bend down over the fresh seabed.

Down on my knees. On my back. Water blankets the body

except for nose and mouth anchored at the surface. Sharp movements

and I swallow water, then coughing, take in still more.

In the moment of death, I imagine K. He becomes

totally real and holds my swollen water-logged hand in his











So I tried to express something that made a strong impression. Like

with K a few times after the first time, invasion, rain, sickly

lost little bird against the box, shut tight and we lay quite still

halfway penetrating. An idea illustrated by loose objects

Sweater, ticket, receipt, food, lube

It must have been

even in nudity, a snorting devotion, written down.

The persistent notion about the ass as the inverted cry

from the man’s sex











A completely contemporary image shows K with arms around my shoulders in

a pub. He never drinks alcohol.

The nourishment extracted from fruitful conversation takes detours and

we are forced into a waterproof rhetoric whose only obstacles are allowed to be

the victim’s total inability to act. This bluntness is a

hallmark. Slightly worn with caution, fine. The words, and the

missing words, sneak into the century. Appealingly. Like falling on

knees. Hands are like stars when pressed against the floor, slipping

out farther and farther to torture’s shredded border with

the cuticles. We’re traveling to where the tulips are growing. Weep and

ache. Deflower him, perforate him. That’s all he

has ever dreamed of












As the vessel. Sealed, muddied. I follow him. Heel stone heel stone

at different intervals. He looks over his shoulder, tip-toes,


His acceleration barely noticeable. Spikes. Heel.

Back claw-covered. Afterwards. He will thank me afterwards


I follow him through the night club’s panting projections

up to the wall where he beats his head against the surface: I love you,

I love you. Glass, cement, spikes, brick: anything that leaves a mark.

It may look different. But still accurate. This is the exact choreography

that twins me and K. It led you to smile in the sun, K.

I won’t even begin to tell you about the darkness in the parks












The center, he says, journeying into snow. Time passes. Measured longing

afterwards. I remain at the hall’s exaggeratedly broad, fiercely bright

window and suddenly have the opportunity to correct every single thing,

each of the tablecloth’s corners, every cuff while flakes

slowly sail off. Closes his eyes. His journey away, in white,

flickering. A colossal natural light and the room flows with

sounds. What was it he said? That guilt drips, that shame sucks?

Like the teat he was so attached to. Turning himself

for easier access. Making himself quite affectionate. Tame. To get a sip.

Did I stroke his back afterwards? Afterwards we saw everything with new

eyes. What had we been waiting for, lit by completely unfamiliar

people at night?












I need pictures of them. Necks of different guys. And

notes. The graphite-grey ones blanketing what we’ve been waiting

for. More than a sky. More than a sky over a certain

written history or the two of us. Now I have to go


Guys creep in the sand forever on the hunt. Like

sweet dogs. Or radiance. Or hopes. Bite him

from behind. Move around or try to leave a mark on the shoulder. Or

further down. His lower back and ass will be branded, tagged

for his own sake


After each other. About each other. The embrace. The step forward.

Polarization is a lucid first strategy in order to seize

understanding. They are so cold and far from intimacy. I

need them to whisper, to exchange smiles, to be enveloped

in one another in a way that confirms the dream of symbiosis and

harmonized extinction. I can’t handle anything else today. Other than

the fine white cotton t-shirts along the sand and water. As if

water suggests emotion and words for emotions convey objectivity. I

love: your slippery way. Your greasy textiles









I tell everything to K and J and L and M. I sit like

a Greek god, half-undressed and in really good shape, on the back

of the couch and when I pronounce certain words

Loose words: true, field of vision, nausea

Telling the story excites me.

True but unmistakable: arm hairs perk in unfamiliar

color combinations. To tear from edge to edge. New fresh

flesh wounds on my contaminated arms. Politicized healing power, my

boyfriend’s gaze, my very good friend’s gaze. Successful

community trials. Chest tightness









Kristofer Folkhammar is a Swedish poet, novelist, and literary critic, based in Malmö. Apart from several publications in Swedish literary journals, he has published two collections of poetry: When He Kissed Me, I Lost Everything (När han kysste mig förlorade jag allt), 2012, a collection of prose poems that consider gay desire, loneliness, and forms of intimacy. And In Time, Tonight (I takt, inatt), 2020, a minimalistic and rhythmically composed collection that deals with fellowship and submission, sickness and lust. He is also the author of the novels Isak & Billy (2011), Magisterlekarna (2015), and Är det barnen, baby? (2021) all from Natur & Kultur. Magisterlekarna (The Schoolmaster Games) was recently adapted for film by Swedish director Ylva Forner.


Christian Gullette’s poems and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in the American Poetry ReviewYale ReviewKenyon ReviewNew England ReviewColorado Review and other journals. He received his Ph.D. in Scandinavian Languages and Literatures from the University of California, Berkeley, and he serves as the editor-in-chief of The Cortland Review.