In a City by the Sea

We limp in gathering dusk through unfamiliar streets.
It seems we’ve walked all day, looking and looking.

Sometimes we stopped to eat doughy food served
in this city by the sea, or drink the boiling brew

they love. We talked for hours about paintings
we saw: huge, bright canvases exploding with light.

Some were filled with cats and birds, others probed
places where land gave way and water stretched

in gray-blue wonder or swirled beneath burgundy
clouds. In some, faces of old men burned until

our skin scorched and we had to turn away.  But now
we are silent, talked out and nearly worn off our feet.

Sky appears strange in its gray calm. Something
has enveloped us, not a song or a breath, but a kind

of gelatinous breeze, and now we are afraid. It’s not
the footsteps we hear, though those do not seem kind,

nor the way buildings on this street begin to sway
and crumble and dissolve. More the way our faces shine

in one another’s eyes, as if, so far from home, we’ve shrunk
to the size of beads, delicate in high wind, all our edges gone.


Steve Klepetar’s work has received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. His latest collections include Speaking to the Field Mice (Sweatshoppe Publications), Blue Season (with Joseph Lisowski, mgv2>publishing), My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto (Flutter Press), and Return of the Bride of Frankenstein (Kind of a Hurricane Press).


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