Hard to sleep, women laughing in the other room,
glasses clinking with ice. It’s a pleasant noise,
and you can make out some of the words,
though mostly they speak German.
It might be 1959, the cusp of something new.
There’s a little black dog named Mephistopheles
who leaps around the kitchen until you fetch his leash.
All the way down the avenue he follows white birds,
who sweep into the sky as he gets near.
Sometimes the heat gets so intense, you drag him
down to the bridge, cross over to the low banks.
A canoe streams by, and there are ducks with green,
iridescent heads. River mud and rocks tangle
with roots and fallen boughs.
You swim out to the moss-covered log.
Someone waits for you, a shadow in early mist,
silent partner breathing in the morning with eyes of flame.
The Imaginary Archive
Here you’ll find books no one has written yet,
and in the deepest part, the ones no one will ever write.
There are shelves of books about the cuisine of Mars,
and all of them can fit on the head of a pin, where
angels of unwritten books dance in a delirium of delight.
Archivists spend their time looking out imaginary
windows that open onto gardens that don’t exist.
At break time, they brew tea, boiling water
in silver kettles, then pouring it slowly over loose,
fragrant leaves, which bubble and shine like tar pits
in an ancient gully somewhere on the other side
of the world. All night, invisible birds fling themselves
from impossible trees, with leaves that float in the air
like tiny boats. The archivists are married to their work.
Some wear gold chairs that jingle when they walk,
but mostly they glide on imaginary wind.
Others wear bracelets made of steel, which open
when they chant a phrase which no one can recall.
Poets go there to dream and die. When they are reborn
as owls, it’s an occasion of great joy, and everyone laughs
until the building shakes and playwrights stumble home
from the bars, the after party having ended with the usual brawl.
How to Interpret Dreams
- The Dreamer
Someone who swims
when moonlight spills
on the river,
who sits on dry dock
when clouds smother the sun.
A singer whose broken
voice can’t penetrate the sky,
a poet whose fingers
bleed onto coloured glass.
2. The Dream
An empty bakery bag
skimming down an alleyway,
shoved by the spring breeze,
Steve Klepetar lives in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. His work has appeared widely in the U.S. and around the world, and has received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.