ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Steve Klepetar

Over the Border

I'm heading for the border, past the river, 
down into the gulch where the land turns wild. 
I'm heading for the land of smoke and dreams. 
All night I climb and climb, 
and when dawn breaks, I look down 
over a field of flame and burning oak, 
willows sobbing in firelight.
I am lost and broken. 
My head aches and my feet swell 
and burn. All night I search
for the lamplight with a pair of suffering eyes. 
My hands are filled with rain. 
All night I sing of the vanishing land. 
Where on that road is the light of truth to be found? 
How many turns did I miss, how many signs? 
Or if not truth's light, then at least 
another way of seeing, another cloak or mode of dress, 
a new language with a different set of verbs 
that taste in the mouth like berries 
from another world, tart and rich, with juice 
that runs down my chin as I try to name the flavor and the scent.


On the Other Side of the Road

A frog resting on a sunlit rock. 
It stares through yellow eyes, 
green-brown body gleaming 
with a slick sheen. 
They say the weather's changing, 
cold air and snow sweeping in 
from the west. They say the frogs 
will need to go underground, 
deep beneath the frozen pond. 
Crows dart along the tree line, 
cawing out the news.
Something is falling from a long 
way up. It's a slow-motion dive 
down toward scrub grass and reeds. 
If you listen by the window, 
you might hear a whistling,
a strange new code. 
If your eyes won't focus, 
that is why – 
the world has become strange 
and out of tune. 
Beyond the pines, mountains loom 
out of mist, first solid, then 
shimmering to shadow in late afternoon. 


Steve Klepetar lives in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. His work has appeared in nine countries, in such journals as Boston Literary Magazine, Deep Water, Antiphon, Red River Review, Snakeskin, Ygdrasil, and many others.  Several of his poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.  His fourteen collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto, The Li Bo Poems, and Why Glass Shatters.

Return to Offcourse Index.