Friday 5 May 2017

3 Poems by Steve Klepetar

Sleepers on the Sea

We, the somnambulists, set out on a calm sea
with stars mapping our route to the west.
We travel with eyes open, but see nothing.
We paddle and row and sometimes capture
the wind as our sails fill and billow, but no
matter how far we go, we remain netted
in dreams. They tell us we wander fearlessly
on the waves, that we pass unharmed
through cloud and rain, that our hands
remain busy all through our long night’s sleep.
Dolphins follow in our wake; whales breach
and their lonesome songs wrap us in mystery.
Along the way we have become deaf to human
sounds. Sometimes, they say, we rise from
the deck as seabirds, shrieking our hunger
to the open air as we skim the surface of the sea.
Who knows, it may be true, all these tales
we hear when we wake in our beds, soaked
and cold, with only shadows to offer from
the dark land from which they tell us we returned.

The Island of Giants

There may have been giants here once.
Could those be their great footprints
nearby, where the cliff’s edge knifes
toward empty air above a gray, grinding
sea? In early morning, if you listen, just
below the seabirds’ cries, their breath
still rises and sinks around the island’s
crust. What a sight it must have been,
those men and women tall as ancient
trees. Shaggy heads obscured a smear
of sun as they strode toward oblivion,
huge hands opening and closing again
as if everything they made had turned
to dust and blown off in merciless wind.

Horses of the Sun

Everyday that pounding from
East to West, a single track
dug deeper and deeper in the sky
road, a long circle that turns

out, in the end, to be just another
straight line. How the god with
his gleaming hair and horses
with manes of fire must hope

for another foolish boy, a son
filled with his own shining pride,
vitality oozing from him like sweat
on a racing stallion’s flank

to take hold the reins, that burning
leather which must score his smooth
hands, red-hot tackle glowing
as he falls toward ocean’s cooling arms.


Steve Klepetar’s work has appeared widely. His poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and The Li Bo Poems, both from Flutter Press, and Family Reunion, forthcoming from Big Table Publishing.

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