Into the Gloom by Steve Klepetar

I sat and sat peering into the gloom
And then I remembered the mirrors…
                Charles Simic 

In the City of the Dead, mirrors
are clouded over like fog-dimmed eyes.
Each one holds a blurred face
or a lantern glowing in the rain.

Remember your mother, how she
hated the least trace of dirt
but never seemed to mind soaking
up the blood from your scraped knees?

Once you came in after making a great
catch against the bushes, your back
scratched in thin, bleeding whip lines.
She washed you off, shook her head
as you raced back to the game.

Now she sits by the river, watches
black water meander through cypress
and pine. She sits on a stone
as white birds flutter around her feet.
Her face has become empty and cold.

A wind blows ripples on the water’s skin
but she remains untouched by air or spray,
steadied now by a terrible calm.
Your trembling hands cannot touch her.
They pass though her body, a pair
of nervous doves fleeing to their flimsy nest.


Steve Klepetar’s work has received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. The latest of his nine collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and The Li Bo Poems (forthcoming), both from Flutter Press.