5 poems by Steve Klepetar


    Steve Klepetar lives in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. His work has appeared widely in the U.S. and abroad, and has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize, including four in 2016. Three new collections have appeared in 2017: “A Landscape in Hell;” “Family Reunion;” and “How Fascism Comes to America.”






    Watching You Dream


    You’re asleep in the blue chair, and I
    am watching you dream. Today your
    hair is made of glass. It shines
    in window light, splashing your shoulders,
    streaming down your back.
    You must be flying in humid air
    as sun struggles through breaking clouds.
    High up the world looks wet and green.
    You sail the currents, rising with heat,
    then dipping into cooler troughs.
    Your eyes become mirrors, your hands
    a fluttering pair of nets.
    I watch your mouth as it seems to sing,
    chewing the lyrics of an old tune
    we crooned on a train
    shooting out towards mountains in the west.
    We were young and blessed with peace.
    I watch you sleep, and my face
    transforms to lead. I would follow if I could,
    sailing my weight along the track.
    Soft leaves had not yet turned,
    or drifted toward earth. All night we rode.
    In the morning our eyes were dazed and full of snow.






    Outside someone is hammering.
    It is evening after a day of rain.
    Through the window I see nothing
    but clouds and mist, or only
    a shape, something big and heavy
    in the street, and now the silence
    is broken. It takes this noise,
    metal on metal, to grasp the quiet,
    how rarely even a single car
    glides down my street, whooshing
    through puddles.
    Maybe I’m trapped inside glass.
    In the middle of this life, something
    has ceased.
    Thick as summer, air closes
    around my throat.
    Even last night I heard nothing,
    not even the swing set creaking,
    or dogs chasing birds across the yard.




    Turning the Corner

    I met myself coming
    from the river, where
    I stood so long on the

    wooden bridge, staring
    into dark water.
    The face I saw floating

    there burned
    like a pale wafer of flame.
    In motion now, I feel

    the warmth of my hands,
    my blood revives.
    I have come up the road,

    turned the corner
    by the gray stone house.
    A thin line of light spills

    from the front porch.
    Half in darkness,
    I greet myself as I pass,

    palm held high,
    an unarmed shadow
    returning from the edge.




    Famous Lovers


    The eye rises from its pyre of flame, and what it sees it consumes.

    Everywhere wind pushes into corners,
    and sky bends with its sly colors – black clouds and oily sun.

    Here in winter, the sea bubbles turquoise and indigo,
    framed by a rocky coast.

    If you wait in the shadows, where bent trees
    lean their hunched backs,
    you might see the famous lovers rising from their deep sand pit,
    straining upward on naked, muscular legs.

    They climb and climb, exhaustion
    burning on their faces as they reach the cool air by the shore.

    They have eaten nothing in the darkness.

    Their hair has turned to gold, to white gold,
    or platinum threaded with jewels. See how their hunger
    grows as night comes on so early,
    with its new burial and its mouth sharp with mountainous teeth.




    Eyes of the Sea


    I find myself looking into the eyes
    of the sea. He stares back, an old
    man with breath made of foam,

    spread out between sand and sky.
    We don’t speak. Gulls shriek and
    dive in the space between our

    silence. Suddenly I feel wet
    and cold, and the sea opens his
    gray waves. Music plays from

    a boardwalk just up the beach,
    a young woman with a guitar
    and a voice that’s swept away

    by the wind. The sea listens.
    It roils over the melody,
    and turns green, then violet

    as notes penetrate the water’s
    skin. My eyes break away. I feel
    a great longing for distance,

    for the wide shoulders of this land,
    with its ceaseless shoreline circling
    the narrow shadow of my vanishing self.






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