Last Time I Checked
you had flown away over the rooftops,
said goodbye to wind and trees.
I remember seeing a note somewhere,
half written, half printed, with hollow
balls dancing over the lowercase i's.
The ink burned red and I left it under
the sink. Maybe it was a song you wrote
for me, or was it your will? Your grandma
called seven times and I told her you
had driven out to Reno, to Fort Worth,
up to Montreal. It was cold and I don't
remember what I said. She sent me
a thank you note with five dollars
folded in the card. I have it here with me,
carefully ironed and spread out on the table
where we ate peanut butter sandwiches for lunch
which left our throats dry and raw. If I
pour a glass of milk, maybe you'll come back
with new stories to tell, with a torn coat,
with your soul throbbing, your beautiful hair aflame.
Li Bo Speaks to His Father's Ghost
Everything either is
or is not, Aristotle says
but what of your white-haired ghost
waiting at the road's dark mouth?
I see you
bowed in moonlight.
Your hands speak, bobbing
like the heads
of birds. Your eyes
take in all things, black holes
at whose edges time expands, spreads, slows and stops.
I beat my path towards you, burrowing
inside my own spacetime.
We have stopped rushing apart
from the point of my birth.
No longer galaxies spiraling ferocious
centers of rage, we stop spitting
gamma rays across the light years.
We curve toward one another.
My face has become your face. I squint with your eyes,
sure of one sound alone: your blood pulsing loud in my veins.
Thunder and rain, wild horses crashing through
black fists of cloud in terrified stampede. Oceans
of wind, tunnels of air sweeping against bending
trees, houses hunched and braced beneath storm.
And you're home again with your glass of wine, handful
of salted nuts. Last week you saw a whale breach in a leap
beyond the bay. Your hands were delicate and calm.
While you watched that wonder, a strange appetite arose
as if your mother had come to call you in with sausages
and bread and a basket of white radishes to bring your
thirst to the edge of joy. She was wrapped in plastic,
her mouth distorted as light danced through that transparent
veil. Her dexterous fingers moved in little drumbeats,
typing out a message whose vibrations you could clearly read--
"Keep your head above the water, Schatz, and when great
waves break, say what you must to shrimp and shells and sand."
Steve Klepetar's work has appeared worldwide, in such journals as Boston Literary Magazine, Deep Water, Expound, The Muse: India, Red River Review, Snakeskin, Voices Israel, Ygdrasil, and many others. Several of his poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize (including three in 2015). Recent collections include Speaking to the Field Mice (Sweatshoppe Publications, 2013, My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto (Flutter Press, 2013), and Return of the Bride of Frankenstein (Kind of a Hurricane Press).