Two Poems by Stephen Klepetar

Li Bo and the Moon of Expectation

Tonight we’re in a field, with the moon
rising, shedding its ice light where wildflowers
sleep. Meadow grasses tickle our ankles

as we wander toward the tree line. Li Bo
points to the sky. “That’s the Moon of Expectation,”
he tells me. “See how her shadow eyes open,

how her mouth breathes a hopeful song, a prayer?
It seems to me her face blurs with tears, proud as if
her fine sons had left on a voyage, sailing their shining

ship around the horn of the world.” Crickets hail us
in soft light. We expect nothing but the taste of wine.
We drink deep, toasting the hope in her ghostly face.


image

Li Bo Tears Up His Contract

and lets the bits fall in a soft avalanche
on his kitchen floor. He’s a holdout.

I make coffee, sit him down, push over
the sugar bowl. He says “I’ll walk

the river, following mallards as they
swim toward the dam. I’ll make

my home in mud.” I offer toast
and cherry jam. “I’ll be a bird,” he says,

“and drill clean holes into the trunks
of rotting trees.” He eats thoughtfully

at first, then with great pleasure
at tartness and sweet. Carefully we run

the numbers, his demands against risk
and time lost, the chance that some younger

voice might take his place on the team.
“Remember Wally Pipp,”* I warn.

Later I find him on the floor, folding
shredded papers into perfect little squares,

as if this act of tidying could  bring his body
into line with old rage and newfound appetite.


Steve Klepetar's work has appeared widely and has received several nominations for The Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and Return of the Bride of Frankenstein.