Steve Klepetar

Where the Black Snake Lives

Black snake lowers himself into the cave
of night. His red tongue flicks; he tastes
air, water, salt and stone. His mind is a
vast kingdom of glowing stars. When
spring tumbles back to earth, black snake
laughs in the rain; he follows robins
into restless branches of trees grown
stiff from waiting, rubs his belly against
rough bark. Black snake sleeps on cold
gray mornings, dreams in shapes made
from melting ice—a woman with a diamond
crown, small child digging a garden,
magpies pecking at a golden watch half
buried in mud. Black snake laughs when
he hears voices rise, barking men
who argue in the streets or market sounds—
coins jingling in a glass jar. His yellow
eyes glint, his emptiness bends light, his heart
knows where the river lives, where it bursts
through hard crust to demolish rotten leaves.

Ancient News

Here is ancient news
discovered in the belly of a whale:
fire opens a doorway to another
sea. This one may be red
and empty of fish,
or it may balance on a pin’s head
full of mermaids
and sharks, open to mourning
songs and hymns. When the sky burns,
waves may echo in a swirl of ash.
When the moon tumbles, another sword
may appear stabbing at the flesh of stars.

Author Portrait

Steve Klepetar’s work has received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Three collections appeared in 2013: Speaking to the Field Mice (Sweatshoppe Publications), Blue Season (with Joseph Lisowski, mgv2>publishing), and My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto (Flutter Press). An e-chapbook, Return of the Bride of Frankenstein, came out in 2014 as part of the Barometric Pressures series of e-chapbooks by Kind of a Hurricane Press.