Wednesday 9 November 2022

Three Poems by Steve Klepetar

 



Lesson

 

…and that is the lesson 

of the snow falling and of the seeds of death that are in everything…

 

 

Stuart Kestenbaum

 

We learn it late if we learn it at all. 

My father sat by the window. 

 

Every so often he made a small moan,

as if his weakened vocal cords 

 

could produce no louder sound, 

even in his misery at being alive. 

 

Sometimes he smiled a little 

when my mother fed him sweets, 

 

which he had disliked all his life. 

His grandsons stroked his thin white hair. 

 

My mother left peacefully enough, 

though not like melting snow. 

 

At the last, she felt betrayed, 

wondering why her beloved doctor 

 

never showed up. 

“What’s wrong with me?” she asked

 

when her green eyes opened, 

before she turned back to the wall. 

 

Yesterday we discarded two dead plants, 

grieved for the purple flowers and shiny leaves. 

 

The heat is terrible but won’t last long. 

In the quiet we hear footsteps rustling on dry grass. 

 

 

Lullaby

 

You visited again last night, 

climbing in through the open window, 

 

less shadow than spoonful of light. 

No questions, I guessed you would say, 

 

but really, what was there to ask? 

Earlier I looked out the picture window 

 

toward the swale and the tall pines. 

stretched out over the hills, a double 

 

rainbow, one a ghostly reflection 

in colours silky and pale. 

 

For once the frogs were silent, 

as if the August heat had taken all breath. 

 

A moment of waiting, a gigantic scale 

swaying gently in balance. 

 

When you left, the room was empty. 

Sleep came, the usual slow surprise, 

 

even as my ears were ringing, 

the muscle in my back aching like a lullaby.

 

 

The Same Disease

 

This morning nobody sang.

We may all have been sick with the same disease, 

our throats scratchy and sore.

In the distance, ravens circled the pines.

Later, we felt better, feasted on cream, 

dipped faces deep in our bowls.

We looked beyond the icy lake. 

All night we heard something move in the rafters. 

We huddled together and sang until the woman came, 

the one who lives in the apartment across the hall.

She brought peaches, but they were sour and hard. 

She brought stale bread, cans of sardines, 

a big bag of chocolate chips. 

Our mother warned us to say nothing,

just bow our heads, not more than a slight nod. 

She means well, and besides, her hands are twisted 

from all the work she did polishing steel sculptures in the museum yard.




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. Great poems, I truly enjoyed Stuart Kestenbaum, many images of my grandfather came to my mind…

    ReplyDelete

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