Out of Town
Tonight it’s my brain that won’t sit still,
and tomorrow guests from out of town.
Where did I put my keys?
That won’t matter when the moon shines
above the hills where we saw a bear cub
ambling by the side of the road.
We had eaten well, cheese on thick bread,
and fruit we picked at the orchard
where the river bends south toward Boston
and the sea. The radio was on, playing a song
we loved in our younger days,
but we remembered only a handful of words.
I clicked it off and you slowed to a crawl.
We crept along in silence watching the little bear
until she slipped like a shade into the shadow of trees.
A New Roof
Like another man I knew, I listened to the trees.
They spoke softly in German in my father’s voice.
Then it was evening and the sparrows gathered
in the branches of a river birch.
They gossiped for a while, and then went quiet.
Their little bodies disappeared in the leaves.
The moon hung between dark clouds,
and in that little gap a few stars glittered
like silver jewels.
Usually I’m afraid of nothing, though I rarely sleep.
Tonight was a feast, with good wine from the small shop
near the village green.
The trees left me with a song in an easy key.
I memorized the lyrics, but that was yesterday.
Now I need a new roof, but I have enough money
in the bank to shingle a palace if need be.
I’ll be up on a ladder all day, with the sun beating down.
The trees, if they know what’s good for them,
had better shut their mouths. I have a lot of work to do.
Who You Meet
I like living with you —
I don’t care what you say.
I don’t care who you meet
at the Dream Cafe.
Lover or friend, maybe your aunt
come back to tell you strange truths about the underworld.
I imagine you arriving with your hair done up,
comfortable in sweats or an old pair of jeans.
Anyway, you look so fine, with those wise eyes
and the bone structure of an Egyptian queen
I saw on painting once as she stared out
across three thousand years.
Maybe I’m there too, in the corner
with my cup of tea or maybe I’m just thinking
about you ordering a latte, tasting the foam with a tiny spoon.
Maybe it’s your sister come to meet you alone.
You reminisce about gardening together
at the Bronx Botanical Garden when you were eleven and ten,
how your mother blanched at the vegetables covered with dirt.
Two busses and a twenty minute walk, your fingernails
filthy with the black soil.
Tomatoes big as baseballs, cucumbers and peas.
Sometimes you meet your father, sit with him as he explains
his system for winning at the track.
Your heads are bowed, almost touching over the scratch pad
as he writes out a formula and you make notes along the side.
Sometimes you meet your bright-eyed colleague, the one who died too young.
Sometimes we meet, almost shy with each other, embracing with tears and joy.
Steve Klepetar is waiting out the winter and the pandemic in Berkshire County, Massachusetts.
What a wonderful trilogy of poems, Steve.ReplyDelete
My favorite line is:
“ The trees left me with a song in an easy key.
I memorized the lyrics, but that was yesterday.”
Thank you for sharing your inner poetry voice. As always, it is a joy to read.