HERE IS THE CITY
where busses run through tunnels of snow.
Here is the city sinking in surf.
In this city, water has turned into lead. In this one the buildings
have disappeared. Here is a city based on the remnants of smoke.
Here is the city of ghosts.
Once I returned to the city where they say I was born;
it was made of ice and glass. I found the house
that burned in the wind. Charred ruins marked patterns
in sparkling leaves. I found the avenue of perpetual darkness
where beggars sleep beneath awnings and tarps.
At the café, I ate food that lay silent on stoneware plates.
I drank whisky mixed with the milk of snakes.
Late that night, someone drove me home to a garden of grapes
and plums. We spent a night in the ashes, with headaches and chills.
The doctor warned us not to wash our hands with water drawn
from the poisoned well. We coughed and changed our clothes,
then found a cat asleep on the windowsill wrapped in its own tail.
Later we introduced ourselves and went out to play in the rain.
That night we held hands and leapt from a window into the mouth of dreams.
Steve Klepetar's work has received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. His latest collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and The Li Bo Poems (forthcoming) both from Flutter Press.