Sunday 30 January 2022

Three Superb Poems by Steve Klepetar

 



My Parents Walked by the Sea

 

The sun was so bright, they had to squint, 

and look back toward the shore. 

I saw them moving toward the rocks, 

footprints disappearing in grey sand. 

All night it rained, water puddling 

on the sidewalk and street. 

Even the dog found herself crying. 

I worried about the birds, 

where they would sleep in the cold. 

It was nothing but words,

so many names of things: cactus, 

blowfly, cormorant. 

They sent me to the store 

but there was nothing for sale, 

only the empty bakery 

and the diner where the cops went to eat. 

I hitchhiked to California, 

but by then it had sunk in the sea.

My parents didn’t know, 

they kept bottle of gin 

in the freezer for a special treat. 

Everywhere the trees were on fire.

The moon blazed in the sky, blood red. 

We watched the news until the weather came on. 

Then we were interested. 

Waves were coming, big waves, and cicadas, 

though strictly speaking, that wasn’t weather at all, 

but some kind of miracle event. 

By the time the flag came on, waving slightly 

on the shimmering screen,

we had sped out in our ancient car 

as a shower of stars rained down on the  smoking earth.

 

 

The University of Forgotten Names

 

I graduated with honours 

from the university of forgotten 

names. I stood when my name 

 

was called. My parents looked 

so proud. That’s my son, 

my mother cried, 

 

and all the eyeless women 

waved their hands. 

The red-haired professor 

 

with the Van Dyke beard 

sat at our table. 

What strange ears he has, 

 

my mother said. 

He bowed to her, offered 

a slice of cheese. 

 

My father lifted the pitcher 

for the whole table, 

bent his head back and drank. 

 

My mother tried to seize his arm, 

but he lifted her to his open mouth 

as if she weighed nothing at all.

 

 

The Velvet Dark

 

You stared out the window again tonight at the velvet dark. 

No moon, no stars, just the shadow of the pines.

I felt your breath on my neck as you leaned over to check the plants

When I started to sing, you touched my hand. Then it was quiet 

for a while as we wandered in our thoughts.

Our phones sat on the table, almost as dark as the sky.

Nobody called, though you got another text asking for money.

I held your hand, which felt much warmer than mine.

Somewhere, in another time, we stood together on a beach 

at sunset, listened to the waves roll in. 

Were we alone? I don’t remember seeing anyone else, 

but someone kept talking, and when we awoke, years had gone by. 

I had abandoned all plans, buried my manuscripts 

where the dog used to run. I love the night, don’t you? 

The hours when everything seems to end without even a little gasp.




Steve Klepetar lives in the Shire (Berkshire County, in Massachusetts, that is). His work has appeared widely and has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. He is the author of fourteen poetry collections, including Family Reunion and The Li Bo Poems.

Steve Klepetar is waiting out the winter and the pandemic in Berkshire County, Massachusetts.

1 comment:

  1. Love these. "without even a little gasp" is a perfect final turn in the last one!!

    ReplyDelete

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