Two Poems by Steve Klepetar
Night Ride, NYC
I was seven or eight, riding at night in someone’s car
over a bridge strung with lights,
the Whitestone or Throgs Neck, and we seemed
to be standing still
as the bridge slid past, pillar after pillar,
until my eyes blurred. My identity seemed to slip away
and I repeated my name to myself, silently, over
and over, until those words
meant nothing. Night loomed above, and lights
on the river sparkled, everything
moving but me, who was no one, just a flicker
on a dark river rushing toward a hole where the world used to be.
There will be time to kiss and play
after we roll this rock from your grave.
It might astonish you to know
that the sky is so blue today that it hurts
our eyes to tears. We blink and rub.
We brought the checkered tablecloth,
a basket of sandwiches, but we can’t eat;
we have no appetite. You always hated
picnics anyway, so we wander
to the river, past cheerful flowerbeds.
Just ordinary things—pansies and impatiens,
a few geraniums blazing in the sunlight.
We sit on the swing and watch mallards
floating on the water, as if the cold
would never come again, as if our throats
would open soon and accept tomorrow’s rain.
Steve Klepetar’s work has appeared in Boston Literary Magazine, Chiron, Deep Water, Expound, Phenomenal Literature, Red River Review, Snakeskin, Voices Israel, and Ygdrasil, among others. His work has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and The Li Bo Poems, both from Flutter Press. His full-length collection Family Reunion is forthcoming from Big Table Publishing.