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.
Remember that we are dust. It is said
That this place of our passage is prone to mirages — W. S. Merwin
Every day our bodies swirl in the wind,
even if the air is still.
We live in fortunate houses, far from
the sea of smoke.
We nurse our own concerns.
Refugees cross the desert
and sink into sand.
Their houses have broken and bled.
Every day more rain, more smoke, more dust.
We track our long lives in words.
Our pink bodies rise
in bubbles above the troubled earth.
For many years, this flesh will suffice,
until ground into pebbles,
or rubble, or even fine grains of seashells
crushed on a beach.
We expect them to rise again
to inhabit houses built into rock.
The refugees have formed a bridge
of bodies. Some are dead, some have lost
their hands. Some have been turned into smoke or ash.
We don’t know them at all.
One day the mountains will reach the sea,
and their crossing will be thunder.
And on their brows, lightning and rain and a memory of dust.
If only we could inhabit words
the way fish glide
on mountains where ice
melt flows in spring.
We might never feel
cold, only be breath
of great white bears
as they prowl arctic seas.
Heat would be a whisper
in our ears, a motion
in the air, then a long slide
to a tap, a touch.
We could ride the rain,
its sleek rows,
and be salt dissolved
in the waiting arms of waves.
We could rise in a bubble
see the world in all
its cubist wonder –
bosons and flavored
in deep bending space,
even the fiery hearts of stars.