September 25, 2017

Two Poems by Steve Klepetar

The Green Lighthouse

Bright morning, a few cars crunch up a gravel road. 
Behind the green lighthouse, a white sail and the bubbly 
wake of a powerboat skimming parallel to shore. 
Blue sky, blue sea breathing as summer slowly slips away. 
At night, the moon, almost full now, near the month’s 
middle days, shimmers in long, pearl-white streaks, 
and night birds call from the edges of town. 
Ghost time now in shadows behind the moving lamp 
and in deep notes of warning moans. I have come 
to meet you again, to watch you rise through seaweed 
and muck, your empty sockets deep and long as tunnels 
to another world. They tell me you have migrated 
far away, tossed your passport on ocean’s salty skin, 
but here you are, arms full of weeds and shells. 
When the wind blows, your shape flutters and shifts, 
dragging over rocks. Your body is bereft of bones and blood. 
You have no muscles, no skin. You float silently, more 
felt than seen – cold fingertips along my neck, and a wordless 
pressure against my ears. On this cool night, I would lay you 
to rest as darkness swallows the land and the ancient sea.

When He Returns

There he is again, trailing behind 
in the sand, green eyes floating 
in his wide, round face. Maybe 
he’s talking on the phone to an 
old friend in a country far away, 
or maybe he’s muttering to the wind. 
It’s never so clear when he returns 
as summer climbs into the sky, 
and his white hair burns. I wanted 
to show him a book I wrote, but 
I know better than to look directly 
into his face, which will shimmer 
and be gone. If I leave some pages 
torn out in the garden, where his 
berry bush has grown tall and green, 
he may find some words to understand, 
though likely he will smile and shake 
his head. Already he looks like smoke, 
and his gentle hands glide through their 
farewell as if they would never touch the earth.

Steve Klepetar lives in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. His work has appeared widely in the U.S. and abroad, and has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize, including four in 2016. Three new collections have appeared in 2017: “A Landscape in Hell;” “Family Reunion;” and “How Fascism Comes to America.”

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