Steve Klepetar


      His memories lived in the place
      like fingers locked in the rock ledges
      like roots.

            — Wendell Berry

His kindness filled me, an indwelling
like a rush of wind. He said “I like
to give with warm hands” as we
walked through the park, watching
brown leaves swirl in their little
tornadoes down into crackling grass.
He knew a lot, though he analyzed
little, there being a kind of wisdom
beyond the most penetrating thought.
When he died, his confiding voice
entered the air, and I hear it often
by the riverside, alone with my
breath and long strides mirroring his.



She knows what she
knows and she’ll
tag it on the wall

a moonlit glow
on bricks above
an alley, by spilled

beer and broken
burger boxes
where cats shriek

their night lungs
into raw agony
of fur and blood.

It’s a vision
that’s pricked
her eyes

a vista
of desert sands
and a god

slowly descending
in purple shadows
to a churchyard

and a well
and three
young girls

playing jacks
on the sidewalk
as their brothers

climb cypresses
among sodden leaves.



      I need big hands
      to help me
      change the profile of planets.

I need big hands to gather
fruit, to roll apples and pears
onto a table made of stars,
to pick green branches
heavy with grapes,
to balance the swelling leaves.
Earth heaves, the trees
will not stay quiet.
Even grass whispers,
defying the night.
I need huge hands to hold
this back, this wind and song,
big hands to stroke your
waterfall of hair, blue-black
as crow’s wings, to carry you
beyond the bedroom door.
I need big hands to speak
my mind; tie them and I’m silent,
a giant stepping back into a grave.


STEVE KLEPETAR’s work has appeared worldwide, in such journals as Boston Literary Magazine, Deep Water, Expound, The Muse: India, Red River Review, Snakeskin, Voices Israel, Ygdrasil, and many others.  Several of his poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize (including three in 2015). Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and The Li Bo Poems, both from Flutter Press.