Wednesday 6 April 2022

Three Poems by Steve Klepetar


Medicine and Grain


She held you in her arms 

when snow and wind 


battered your house, 

when the air filled 


with stinging flies, 

but you remember her 


from the mountain top

where she spoke softly 


of medicine and grain, 

while all night you tossed 


in the cold, sleeping 

and waking to the music of frogs.



When I Saw the Fire


When I saw the fire, I fell through the air like ash. 

I swallowed the wind. 

When a door opened, I saw the room grow, 

walls swell outward, windows crack and break. 

In the yard, maples burned with a green flame.

I watched furniture rumble across the floor, 

a cumbersome couch and seven agile chairs.

Fireplace sang to the Persian rug. 

A woman sat there weaving,

still but for  the fingers of her lovely hand.

I  knew for certain she was my aunt, 

returned from shadow to offer a charm, 

or a road past the river where a small house waited

in the silence, twisting, twisting on its concrete slab.



Malady of Blood


I kissed you in the corner, when we were out of sight.

You turned to the window. Free show, you cried, 

but there was no one there, only the snowy yard 

and a few winter birds who couldn’t care less. 

Somewhere, an army has gathered by a river 

in the cold. Snow falls gently on the tanks and guns. 

My mother died five years ago, and I think 

how frightened she would be of the headlines 

screaming across the page. She would have listened 

for the sound of planes breaking the morning peace 

with noise. She would have spoken to her friend 

for hours on the phone, sharing the green serpent 

of their fear. In the end she would have said 

this is an uncozy world and offered us cookies, 

which we’d refuse, because we all still hope 

to die of something other than a malady of blood.

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.


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