Author’s Note: What a tense and stressful time it’s been in America these past 21 months. Everyone I know, and some serious people in government, media, and law seem worried about this administration’s attacks on the institutions of our democracy. It’s been a time of great sadness and growing fear. And yet, even among private sorrows, there is joy in being alive, being near people you love, and I hope that gives us all some comfort and strength for the battles ahead.
The morning we buried you, I ate an egg.
Two, in fact, fried in butter
until the white was firm, the yolks
hot and soft in the pan. I broke them
with the edge of my toast,
dipped and smeared the bread yellow.
It was delicious.
In the woods by his house, my son
dug and dug, dirt flying
from his short shovel until we had a hole
deep enough to hold the ash.
Everyone spoke, recalling you,
and I read a poem about your purple hair.
Then I touched a button on my phone,
played Pace, pace mio Dio, just as you always said,
Leontyne Price’s voice rising through late summer leaves.
Watching You Climb
It was here, in another season
that I watched you climb,
your small, fearless body
driving up into branches
and leaves. You were a little
torpedo of flesh, incoming
ordinance toward the treetop.
I wanted to yell for you
to come down, scream
because my fear was that great.
You looked down and smiled,
sitting on a high branch, leaning
against the trunk of that oak
as if you meant to rest awhile
before stretching your arms,
before clawing your way hand
over hand through a ragged hole
torn straight through the belly of sky.
After Eye Surgery
Today I have one eye, temporary cyclops
resting on the couch.
All night in the bleak hotel, I listened
for the bells of morning.
Even my dreams were filled with sound.
In the valley, frost lifted slowly
as early morning sun crept down the hills.
A one-eyed man is not quite lame,
not quite whole.
He avoids his reflection - the thick bandage
and pirate patch.
Unwilling to be seen, he stays home.
He closes his right eye and the world goes black.
Later he eats pasta with mussels steaming in a bowl,
a salad of lettuce, sliced tomatoes, olives and cheese.
How delicious the world still tastes
to a man with a tongue and hands to feed himself.
© 2018 Steve Klepetar
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