Another helping…

In the Park


Today I fall into step with an old friend,

bald now and dead many years.


“You walk fast,” he says,

“I’m afraid I slow you down.”


But really he keeps up if I slow my pace

a little, and it’s amazing how he walks

and talks, shuffling, his voice emerging

from the hood of his dun colored coat.

He speaks and I listen, how his daughter

fell into depression, how the face he loved

collapsed day after day, became a mask

of flaccid flesh tangled in dirty sheets.


“It was the hardest thing,” he says.

I remember how the merry wrinkles

below his bright dark eyes had spread

and sunk. We warm as we walk, he tries

to peel off his coat, and I help him free

thin arms from sleeves. He has become

a whisper, movements of mouth and hand.


Before he breaks off for home, his eyes

have become holes, empty

sockets, perfectly round, above a fleshless face.

I Carried Yesterday


a bag of sand up a narrow staircase

three flights high


and your voice on my back

and a memory of your hands.


I hauled water from a well we dug

together in the silver-


tinted night. I carried whispers

from the sedge and a little box


of frogs. Back and forth I trudged

one foot,” I said, “after the other”


and even the blood and the black nail

on my right toe served me well, spoke


another version of my secret name.

Your Hair


is rich in shadows, twilight’s magnet at the edge of sun.

Nevertheless, you wouldn’t poke your finger

in my ribs, or laugh like wind through chimes unless


my memory stirred something honey-gold in your breast.

You wouldn’t stand silent and cold at the margins

of this March snow where squirrel tracks circle naked oaks.


All night ships unload at ghostly docks, great bales tumbled

through night wind song. Who practiced that unearthly

choir, who stumbled at the stage lip, hurtling fear


into the orchestra pit? I would touch your hair with fingers

like lips and taste the aura of your strange smile

if I could find your name etched on a bright string of stars.

 Steve Klepetar‘s work has appeared widely and has received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.  His latest collection is Speaking to the Field Mice, forthcoming from Sweatshoppe Publications.


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