Steve Klepetar

Visionary Wind

 

 

Above her head, an eagle,

feathered parabola woven

 

through  cloud, and below

bull snakes coiling from

 

fissures in the steaming

rock. Her eyes tearing

 

in mountain light, sweat

blind and burning in

 

visionary wind.  This is

the day of pierced flesh

 

and a mouth red as an open

wound, a muscle searing

 

climb offered to drought

twisted trees, the hour of

 

open hands and the last song

nailed as a banner of faith

 

or something far more vague

that lurks, a shadow behind

 

whatever she once believed,

to her parched and prayerful tongue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Woman Who Went Looking For Spring

 

 

She brushed her hair without a mirror

and went out to face the wind.  All

 

the squirrels were gone, and snow

tumbled over the tops of her boots.

 

Branches trembled.  Suddenly she

was alone on a hill looking out over

 

sleeping streets.  Chimneys smoked

in a cloudless sky.  Her eyes burned.

 

Her purse was full of water, just icing

over. Hunger gnawed at her, terrible

 

and strange, as if she had slept too long

on a hard bed and woken to an empty

 

house  She had been here before

with a girl one summer afternoon

 

long ago.  They had picked little bunches

of yarrow and wild snake root

 

until somewhere a winter dog

barked, two sharp snaps in cold air,

 

and then the sound vanished, swallowed

by the white day. Soon it would be spring. 

 

Air cut her face, jagged glass without

blood, or a hard slap from some invisible hand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Princess Who Couldn’t Be Found

 

 

One night when the moon was nearly full

and wind rustled dark spring trees, she

slipped off her gorgeous dress, with diamond

trim.  She placed a golden crown on her bed,

with its satin sheets, and stole off in traveling

clothes.  She washed her hair in the river

until it turned the color of sand.  Her mind

filled with the long sleep of bears, and slow

hunger.  She stained her mouth with berries

and allowed wet pebbles to spill like rain

through roughening hands.  Alone in the night,

she listened for a long time and learned

the languages of snakes and birds.  Her face

shone in moonlight; she felt stars pull

as if she were dangling from luminous threads,

as if sky would swallow her into its spacious womb.

Steve Klepetar teaches literature and creative writing at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota.  his work has appeared widely in the U.S. and abroad, and has received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.  His latest books are "Speaking to the Field Mice," from Sweatshoppe Publications, and "Blue Season," a chapbook collaboration with Joseph Lisowski, for mgv2>2 publishing.