5 Poems by Steve Klepetar


    Steve Klepetar has recently relocated to the Berkshires in Massachusetts after 36 years in Minnesota. His work has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize, including three in 2017. Recent collections include A Landscape in Hell (Flutter Press), How Fascism Comes to America (Locofo Chaps), and Why Glass Shatters (One Sentence Chaps).




    The House Next Door


    The neighbors are praying
    in their garden,
    or that’s what I like to think

    as they kneel there,
    putting the plants to bed.
    Suddenly it is cold,

    and in the forecast: snow.
    Dark mornings, and we
    wander through the chilly

    house with all the lights on.
    The neighbors move through
    the yard, threading their way

    through a serpentine dance.
    Cars line their driveway –
    a black limo, a white one,

    a small sedan and a blue
    pickup truck.
    There are children tumbling

    in the leaves. A man pushes
    a lawnmower that roars
    for hours in the last, golden light.




    In the Yard


    She stood in the yard, watching her shadow
    climb into branches of a maple tree, watching
    the sun stretch through humid air.
    Squinting, she sang in the afternoon,
    a song about a boat and a girl
    with wonderful eyes.
    Her shadow danced among a crown of leaves.
    She waved her hands, invited the crows
    with their golden beads.
    Her voice echoed everywhere.
    She stood on tiptoe, peeking beyond the fence
    where an ocean rolled, mirroring the darkening sky.



    For All We Know


    This may be the only planet
    supporting a life made

    with hands. Or it may be
    the country of wolves, boundary

    between whisper and song.
    Could this be the place

    where cousins dance their tales
    of common blood?

    If this were a reunion, I would
    kiss your hand and offer you

    a welcome home. I would serve
    you bread, and soup of bones

    and roots. I would fill your glass
    with wine pressed from the gapes

    of a country you see in dreams.
    For you I would hold my hand

    over the sky. For all we know,
    this is how the living speak

    to the dead, crying across a black
    river running cold to the sullen sea.




    A Wall of Stones


    My grandfather drifts through fog.
    For years he has slept in a lost city,
    a place of bridges and clay.

    Now he wanders by the lakeshore,
    gathering stones.
    Who knows when he will have enough?

    On his thin frame, the clothing hangs,
    as though he has eaten air.
    Still, he carries what he has gathered,

    and now he kneels.
    He is building a wall of stones.
    He leans one against another,

    and somehow, without mortar,
    they snap into place, higher and higher
    on the wet grass. I scream,

    but he smiles at me, and in the silence
    of his eyes I know he will keep himself
    from tumbling back into the world.




    A Blessing, Maybe


    All night, the drumming of rain,
    and in the morning, dripping
    oaks and silver
    puddles in
    drowned grass.
    Something has passed over us
    in the night, a blessing maybe,
    or an oracle’s song.
    We have forgotten the tune.
    In our hands we hold nothing
    but shadows of water and salt and bread.