Thursday 12 May 2022

Three Poems by Steve Klepetar

On Facebook


I say goodbye to my friends, 

though they tell me I have a 60% chance 

to come out of this alive, 

so in this post I include a smiling picture, 

and add I hope to see you on the other side. 

Truth is I’m not scared, 

though I never thought of myself as brave.

Maybe I like the 60-40 odds, 

though it’s easy to see they aren’t that great, 

or more likely I find it difficult 

to believe in my own death, 

which is stupid, of course, 

but when I try to think of not being 

here, not being conscious, of nothingness, 

I get to feeling strange, the way I did 

when I was small and said my name 

over and over until the sound meant nothing 

and the top of my head felt light, 

as if it were rising toward the ceiling 

that was no longer there. 

Sometimes when my parents drove at night 

over one of the many bridges in our city, 

strung with lights like diamonds on an undulating chain,

I felt the same overwhelming nothingness swelling 

in dark water as we drove, nameless and haunted, towards home.



Getting Over Yourself


It’s both a curse and a command.

Here’s a secret though - there is no self, 


not the boy who fell down the stairs 

wailing, or the man with the throbbing thumb. 


Long ago someone crossed the finish line 

to cheers, someone else bent over in the grass. 


An eagle swooped from a cliff to seize a fish. 

A small boat wobbled in a ship’s wake. 


For three days a woman lay in labour

and her child was not born dead. 


Someone held her hand. 

Once she screamed in a grocery store, 


once she laughed until her eyes turned red. 

There you are in the shadows, and now you’re gone, 


with different hair and hands calloused and sore. 

You stand by the woodpile, proud of your work. 


Tomorrow you will be someone else, 

another  ghost who might be able to swallow the wind.



The Truth of Things


We are stuck trying to hide 

from the truth of things and who
can blame us.


Jim Moore


Here on this rock, we spend the day 

rubbing and rubbing. 

Everything shines. 

In the shadows, we hunt for stars

as if darkness would return. 

We keep still. 

You hand me a list, items 

we need to survive another week. 

I cross off berries and cream, 

you add beets and steel cut oats. 

Tomorrow we hike to the reservoir,

spend a quiet hour staring at trees 

reflected like the calm sky. 

It may be we will whisper, 

or nuzzle like deer in the cold. 

Someone might see us there, 

if they look with infrared eyes. 

We have left the planet, sent our

spirits into orbit around the sun. 

Everything shines, even the eyes of prey. 

All night we listen to owls hurling oaths to the moon. 


"Let us intoxicate ourselves on ink, since we lack the nectar of the gods."


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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