Once by Steve Klepetar

I was a man who skipped to the tune
of fiddles, trampling daffodils spread

on a carpet of green. I capered with cats,
whirled with bees in the flowerbeds,

camped in the north woods when wind
spun dead leaves in a tornado of gold.

I weighed nothing, my eyes brown
as a bear’s back, hands quick enough

to seize a partridge from a tangle
of brush. I could walk on the wind.

My ankles trailed clouds, my breath
rose in a rush above the tree line, my

voice a bell, a horn, a thundering herd.
How have I arrived at this place

of thinness and salt and the gray drizzle
of eternal afternoon? Where have I left

my body, those bones strung with nerves
and flesh, those striding legs, and arms

that swam and lugged and held the world
when it sagged, a crumpled ball emptied of air?





Steve Klepetar was born in Shanghai, China, the son of Holocaust survivors and refugees. He taught literature and creative writing for 39 years at three colleges, the last 31 at Saint Cloud State University in Minnesota. Over the years he was named Teacher of the Year  seven times, and received a special award for service to students.  His work has appeared worldwide, in 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. Klepetar is the author of a full length collection (Speaking to the Field Mice) and eight chapbooks, the most recent of which include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and Return of the Bride of Frankenstein.. His eighth chapbook, The Li Bo Poems, is forthcoming in April, 2016.

1 Comment
  1. “How have I arrived at this place of thinness and salt and the grey drizzle of eternal afternoon?” I wonder too, and where has that woman gone who sang to the lightning and danced beneath the hunter’s moon??

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