Still life with Smoke
You can smell it on the ripening
and bananas and dark plums
glinting in harsh
light of a bare bulb. Perhaps rising
from a cigarette
consuming itself on the savage lip
of an ashtray’s ironic smile.
And whose hand is that, resting
on the rust-red table, more
weary than starved, half eaten
by thick, acidic air? Who has
offered this feast of floodlights
and chains? What defeated
mouth helplessly surges towards flesh?
When Fire Comes
When planets align and winter beaches groan
with surge, who will lead you home? What skies
will welcome you, traveller battered by roads
unsheltered and unadorned? Tattoos mark
your shoulders and your neck – a chariot,
a sword and a horse with feathered wings –
but now you know you have been away too long.
Distance hasn’t rescued you, nor has all
you’ve seen survived the instant of a dream.
Lost in this wild wind, your ears have lost
the thread of human speech. Cold gravel clogs
your lips and tongue. This frigid night your skin
won’t stand long against a massive blaze.
When fire comes, where will you find a space?
Even angels feel this kind of heat. Impassive
eyes, so beautiful and blue, discern
such shimmering waves as lift surrounding air
to tumbling clouds of rage and eyeless storm.
Steve Klepetar teaches literature and creative writing at Saint Cloud State University in Minnesota. His work has received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Flutter Press has recently published his latest chapbook "My Father Teaches Me a Magic Word,]."