Steve Klepetar lives in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. His work has appeared widely in the U.S. and abroad, and has received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. He is the author of fourteen poetry collections, including The Li Bo Poems, A Landscape in Hell, and Why Glass Shatters.
Here come the tourists with their hands
filled with silk and coins, climbing
the steps of our tall monuments,
gazing out over hills covered with graves.
They come from places without any sky,
from cities like canyons rusting in the sun.
We ferry them across the river of blood
and the river of clear water and the river of ice.
When the wind blows cold, they get quiet,
huddle together beneath blankets and quilts.
We promise them nothing, neither birds nor rain,
but when the sea opens and we pass through,
they sometimes weep for us, we
who make our lives in these visiting towns.
will do but
to taste the bitter
taste. No life
other, apart from.”
White waves roll in,
the sea rises.
All the parks are closed.
Tonight we huddle
beneath chains, hide
from the moon.
Fences rise before us,
barb wire and mesh.
We taste bitter roots
dug from earth.
Tongues swell, tears
squeeze from our eyes.
We taste bitter water,
bitter air. Bitterness
drips from us like sweat.
Silent, we fear
the bitterness of words.
But no one has fed
the dogs, which bark
madly in the suffering
way of those who starve.