Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Steve Klepetar - Double Bird / Ghost Town

Double Bird

This is the one we called

Bird of the Dead, Double Bird
Who feeds on Carrion

                Rita Dove

Why do I recall a single face of all

the faces bobbing on that Manhattan
street on a summer night? Its hair

flamed against darkening sky. I walked

hand in hand with someone else,
sweating in July heat. We had finished

planting in Borough Park, knees

of our jeans smeared with mud, voices
all around us a blur of conversations:

“It was a great marriage,” someone said.

“I’ve been his patient for twenty-eight years.”
And there she was, bird of the dead, perched

on a Lexington Avenue lamppost, double bird

with  faces twisted out of tune, one smooth
with sparkling eyes and a red mouth for swallowing

tongues, the other gray and wrinkled as a grave.

She fed on carrion. Around our feet, the ocean
spread, sand and foam and bits of broken shell.

Ghost Town

What I want is this poem to be small,

a ghost town
on the larger map of wills.

                Rita Dove

It doesn’t take much of nothing

to roll down the street, turn
the bank to dust with its ledgers
still open, crumbling on a metal desk.

Only a wind soaked in brine

or a hundred coaxing voices
with words dangling from stringers,
bleeding at the mouth.

At the Post Office, ghost steps

shuffle impatiently, all the letters
dead. Frozen boxes line one wall,
but all the posters gone.

Where the miners lived you can see

boarded windows, jagged holes
in the floors, an open well with frayed
rope, but no bucket tied to the end.

Maybe there’s a wailing in the night,

some kind of mourning song
or just wind and dark wings
of bats fluttering among the attic joists

Steve Klepetar’s work has appeared widely, and several of 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 (Flutter Press) and Return of the Bride of Frankenstein (Kind of a Hurricane Press).

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