★ ★ ★ ★


Swept with Rain

Let wind spill golden leaves, let rough oaks creak.
Let the new season climb down from the hill.
Let it chill the air.
Boil porridge on the stove, then fill the bowls and eat.
Pour coffee into mugs as kitchen windows steam.
All morning I walked through the empty park, and now
I have fallen asleep in my chair.
My body curls and disappears behind my heavy lids.
I have fallen asleep, and my brain leaps into light.
I am flying above the river, which shivers in this new cold.
Soon it will be ice, an artery white as bone beneath bare trees.
Let the wind carry it away.
I have fallen asleep in the arms of a dream:
islands swept with rain.
All night a lost phone rings and the river lights with flame.

The House of Hills

My house was called The House of Hills
because it grew wild on the plains.
My body lay in mud a long time.
I could sleep, and I could breathe.
My body turned away as the water rose.
I woke on a stone bridge. See my hands?
They open to the sound of bells.
They open when wind sweeps down
from mountain paths. I have tied them
to a tree, these hands that refuse
the injunction of the world.
I have spoken a spell of three words:
iron, wood and coal.
I have knelt in the sand. All day I turned
away from food, until my hunger grew
and inside my skin, wings, those green shoots
sprouting from bone, burst into the fiery air.

A Trail of Crumbs

Sometimes a voice sounds in my head,
a small voice not much above a whisper.

I breathe deeply, hold the air inside
my lungs until my chest aches.

I try to listen, hoping for some gift of words
to grace my outstretched palms.

And maybe they come as a song,
rising in a quiet place – a northern lake,

or stream running through a field.
I catch them as I can, each one

a tiny universe of sound and sense,
but slippery as they wriggle and squirm.

Off in the distance, rain falls in a dark sweep,
linking black clouds to earth.

My fingers glow, the side of my face
feels numb, my throat parched and raw.

My stomach rumbles; it seems like hours
since I’ve had a thing to eat or drink.

Maybe I’ve been sleeping,
maybe I’ve been lost, and only come

home now, to a house in the forest, with a fire
blazing and a table set, following a trail of crumbs.

Steve Klepetar’s work has appeared in nine countries, in such journals as Boston Literary Magazine, Deep Water, Antiphon, Red River Review, Snakeskin, Ygdrasil, and many others.  Several of his poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, including four in 2016. His latest collections are A Landscape in Hell (Flutter Press) and Family Reunion (Big Table Publishing).

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