The Works of Steve Klepetar

Steve Klepetar’s work has appeared widely and has received several Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations.  His chapbook, Thirty-six Crows, was recently published by erbacce-press.

All Poems © Steve Klepetar


Something is buried too deep in your brain to touch.
It whispers your name.
“Get ready to travel” it says, forming words
like a cloak in the dark, an instrument of flame and breath.

You have walked out on the window ledge, a swimmer
in the ocean of air.  It’s been fifteen years
since your father died and on your brow you may feel
your mother’s kiss or the empty promise of wind.

Listen, and let your mind be grass.
Bend when that hand moves across your face, ride
hard the currents you cannot control. 

Harsh Song

Long days, burnt color
of straw and again no rain,
somewhere invisible

in every human throat
a harsh song

we can save the state postage
again: deliver
the message by hand-drawn
bird: well-fledged pigeons of night.

In the City of Sand

Below this web of stars, child-bearer
and clown, we open our hands to the moon. 

Silent threads dangle in the atmosphere.
Everywhere glowing eyes and vanishing
scent of hemlock and oak. Paintings burned


in these tunnels of light, dancing figures with

triple horns, vibrant filaments wave and swing
from stylized hands. Turn and your mind
goes blank, wake and you have lost another day. 

Here in the city of sand we look for signs
telling of rivers and loam and dripping clothes.



Now you see it, now
your eye leaps
behind a cloud
of snow

disappears up
the old man’s
sleeve, down

 a storm
drain, dragged
into a world
of wings and fur

the tiger
growls and shakes
the earth

your face a miracle
of teeth and eyes –
your wonderful
blinding breath –

you climb a chain
of colored kerchiefs
and the knots hold

and you are sawed
in half again
and your head
floats free and

you choose your
card with care
and with those

headless hands
find it nailed again
gently into each
bloodless palm


My Father’s Hands

My father’s hands holding
nothing, disembodied fingers
calloused and gray.

I saw them move in the mist
like skittish birds. Here is a choice:
North, with strong
wind at your back or South, where ocean
melts into foam.

You decide, hungry hands, unable
to connect unreachable
hours, penetrating fingertips
of stone.  It’s you who must batter
nearly forgotten flesh, ignite
the lamp of your forgotten mind.


Moon glaze, white pickup truck
bumps along this dirt road and we
are borne in the rattle of our bones,
caps and blisters, muscle memory

of shovel and red dirt.  White owl
swoops among jack pine – gravel
and its elegiac call.  Our dream crew
dispatched at the cavern’s ghostly lip.