The Woman Who Rose from Snow
In the time of miasma, in sick sunlight
in days of misery and fear
the time of wind blowing from a dying sea
in the era of paintings scraped on electric walls
the period of knives, and rocks, and blood
the moment of noise and lies and a million
voices tearing from throats, echoing
in hollow buildings of steel and glass
in the empty season of greetings that sting
in the silence of animals and mutilated earth
in the time of blindness and fists, she rose
from snow, parting drifts, climbing to the street
a swimmer through ice, a crystal cold vision
with her breath rising, the sheer presence
of her flesh, her eyes, her hair a black flame
her hands naked and bruised, her vivid body —
that blunt fact in sunlight, impossible to ignore —
burning signs in the rotting core of another bright day
On the Dead Plains
Well now that it is over
I remember my homeland the mountains of chaff
W. S. Merwin
For weeks now they have limped
or stumbled all the way from the stony
beach, footsore and trembling in grey rain.
The palace has been overrun,
roads home gashed and broken and torn.
To get where they are, they wandered
through a forest of flame
dragging their anguish, their voices
and chains. No one dares whisper of home
those rugged mountains tinged
with gold. Wings beat the air; eagles
and falcons wheel through the sky.
All night they curl in damp wool
as sighs hover above rocks and mud.
When sleep takes them to her breast at last
they dream of meadows and bread
and the river that flowed like a green snake
singing of caverns deep in the only earth they knew.
Steve Klepetar's work has received several nominations Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize, including four in 2016. Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto, The Li Bo Poems, Family Reunion and A Landscape in Hell.