Steve Klepetar lives in the Berkshires, in Massachusetts. His work has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. He is the author of fourteen collections, the most recent of which include A Landscape in Hell (Flutter Press), How Fascism Comes to America (Locofo Chaps), and Why Glass Shatters (One Sentence Chaps).
What We Say to Ourselves
It’s hard enough, with our brains on fire,
our hands empty, our blurry eyes strained.
We sit on the hard floor.
We pay attention to the wind.
We say to ourselves “this is my body, my breath.”
We say to ourselves “this isn’t pain, this is time passing.”
With one eye closed, we see nothing.
One foot has fallen asleep, one ear has gone deaf.
We say to ourselves “we are learning what we can do without.”
We say to ourselves “there is value in the grit, in the sand.”
Across town the immigrants have arrived.
They are resting in the park with their sacks piled up in the grass.
They are waiting by the church door.
Their children are sleeping a little while they can.
We say to ourselves “they are quiet and calm in their pain.”
We say to ourselves “they will rest awhile and move on.”
Now You Are One
fly in the wind of the dead
above me, float on the water
of my dreams. — Yehuda Amichai
So many dead, and now you are one,
gone into that pale throng so quietly
I almost missed your slipping,
the last breath hovering above your bed.
I come to the street of restaurants,
all those smells lingering,
cilantro and garlic and roasting meat.
You ate so little, and always the same foods –
yogurt and a little cheese,
chicken drowned in a pot with paprika
that lasted many meals,
and always cookies, two at a time all day.
You gave away as many as you ate,
sweet little bribes you banked for favors.
Now all you eat is wind.
May that fill you, so you remain with the stars,
with the hawks wheeling across the sky,
with the stream floating by my house
as I dream you back into your body,
your rusty voice repeating the same prayers,
the same dreams you said were never coming true.