“Preparing the Way” by Steve Klepetar

What can I do if the sky won’t open for me
today, and the tools I counted on
are useless in this cold? My coat of arms
has burnt out in the sun, and suddenly
my jacket doesn’t fit. Has my tailor sold me
out? My mirror spits back an image
I don’t recognize, a smug man with hands
hairy as paws, a shiny bald spot, a red, triangular nose.
My breath fogs the glass, and another door swings shut.

How lovely to hear your footsteps on the stairs
as you descend, another Eurydice
with your flowing hair and your voice
made of rain. The neighbors are digging
in their garden again, even now when frost
stains the early morning grass.
I hear their shovels chafing the cold dirt,
but I stay low and don’t look out
for fear of seeing their excavations at close hand.
You return with a handful of mail
and a faraway look in your lovely brown eyes.
Across the street, the neighbors dig and dig,
as if something were rising and they were preparing the way.


Steve Klepetar lives in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where he taught literature and creative writing at Saint Cloud State University. Klepetar’s work has appeared worldwide, in such journals as Boston Literary Magazine, Deep Water, Expound, The Muse: India, Red River Review, Snakeskin, Voices Israel, Ygdrasil, and many others. Several of his poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize (including four in 2016). He has also done several collaborations with composer Richard Lavenda of Rice University in Houston, including a one-act opera, Barricades, for which he wrote the libretto. Klepetar is the author of eleven poetry collections and chapbooks, the most recent of which include Family Reunion (Big Table), A Landscape in Hell (Flutter Press), and How Fascism Comes to America (Locofo Chaps).

© Steve Klepetar 2018