Beyond the Fires

Steve Klepetar

Here’s what they carried in their parade:
flags so light they floated without wind.

Their voices carried too,
rubbing against streetlights and stores.

A girl touched their song, and her face
disappeared. She grew wings, her hands

folded into patterns of light. In their arms
they carried bundles of rags, their boots

dragged on pavement, their eyes burned.
All their fathers died long ago in the quiet

of night. They were orphans, with faces
of lead. They were mourners and builders

of funeral mounds. They carried
the darkness of graves. They were fish

swimming in a turbulent sea, a colorful herd
sweeping the plains. They were shadows

flailing against solid brick. In the sky,
a dead moon, like a burned-out eye.

Beyond the fires, they were smoke,
smudges on pots, an absence burned into air.


about the writer


Steve Klepetar lives in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. His work has appeared worldwide in such journals as Boston Literary MagazineChiron,Deep WaterExpoundMuddy River PoetryRed River ReviewSnakeskinVoices IsraelYgdrasil, and many others.  Several of his poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize (including four in 2016). New collections include A Landscape in Hell (Flutter Press), Family Reunion (Big Table Publishing), and How Fascism Comes to America (Locofo Chaps).