Gary Kuhlmann


       for Kally

Her room was like a storm
of tie-dyed Ts all over the floor.
A collaboration between paint and cigarette smoke permeated the walls
and bed linen.

I had known her
for years but did not know this.
I stepped over stacks of the Dead, Bird, and Miles,
gingerly as though each aging record heap
were evidence towards
the solution of some elaborate counterfeit scheme.

The thickly painted canvases of cold sunshine hung
on the walls had an eerie
which is one way to say
I remember things my own way,
not necessarily the way they were.

And the row of wax Buddhas, bodies the size of red avocados, on
the shelves seemed as though
only a minute ago they were alive.

What was that ripple in the air
that told me when she returned? An odor
like a song so dark and slow it lingers
once it's gone, the way the smoke of an extinguished candle hangs
in the room -- no,
the way the words of a blue-lined page bleed in the rain.

Location: Iowa City, Iowa
Occupation: Editor
Publications: The Cream City Review, Stirring
Books: The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Terra Incognita Affair (a novella in production)

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