Three poems from Nomos, chapter “Rimsmedsvägen 36B, Kalmar”.

THE KITCHEN. Mother’s sister’s scissors, in a plastic case. Blood pudding with bacon and lingonberries to pancakes with home-stirred chocolate sauce. With Arabia in sepia. The images faded, yellow, maybe hardened or with the memory. As you shaved your beard and terrified me. Like coffee in a small cup, with both cow’s milk and sugars. A small blue cup, I gave it to my son. Jeans and glasses all. On hooks — boards. Happiness has always propagated itself amongst macaroni; amongst heavy fir tables, with mannered and well-crocheted and joyous tablecloths. All things in plastic. It was cloths, circled; plastic. The honey-sweet milk of Sugar Puffs — a heaven compared to Christ-our-saviour/Pale-incompetence-hanging-on-a-cross. Plastic surrounded everything I learned. Even the sun. I squinted towards the sun, even cut into, as at the hospital.

THE STANDPIPE WATER TOWER WAS VISIBLE FROM ALL OVER THE QUARTER. It stood there like a mushroom, its view was the whole world; the world was not great, it kept at home. We — the church — the fall. Where the shadow was at most sharp. Leafs thread over the feet against the ground, lost — I was often lost. High slopes, trees. I was alone after closing time, I was always last. At last you were there. I recognise tables, mattresses, plaster-dogs; kindergarten games, which became weeks of utopia against the school yard. You were strange, a stranger. I ran. I ran away. With salt dough, towards colourful desolate zones; lines lined the floor — frames like those framing the pedagogy, I was also framed, inbound, but much later.

THE MALL AND THE SECOND FREEDOM. The dreams shifted shape, became fantasies shared with others, became bulk and searching, compromising. Down in nooks, into salinity — sweetness, a carbon based life form. One of us fractured his foot through the glass door, within and without; the loading docks and the rosaries beyond recognition: someone else’s older sister, phones ringing, vhs, Berga Centre, I could not always hold it in. Why should I. Other’s feet, mine, beat upon the parquet cement, over covered boulevards, rested around the one-fuse posts, at times there were no stopping; no protection against intrusion, just another man in the staircase about. With his shadow lose, made simple.

Freke Räihä (1978) is a poet, writing teacher, translator, critic, essayist, publisher and graphic designer. Also a parent and book hoarder and probably smokes too much.

Photo is from a Leif Holmstrand performance.