Blood from cupped paws, under falling leaves; I drink alone, for no friend is near. Actually, I’ve eaten all my friends and much prefer the solitude. No need to beckon the bright moon, who always beckons me, for I am her shadow, I spring to life at her command. You think the moon never takes a sip of blood? Oh, look at her lips, smeared from deep draughts, her kohl-dark eyes sensual and wide, ears delicate and always open to sailors’ screams. May I dance in her shining arms and feel her fingers on my tingling, moon-drunk fur until the final wave of darkness pulls me down.
Plant your plum trees. Old wine is nearing perfection, the loamy earth soft and ready, your chickens bursting with eggs. Now is the time to wring the rooster’s neck, serve him to spring guests. Let your sons share the wine, your youngest daughter sing. Build cradles and ready your barn for rice.
You are going on a long journey. Pay the bill, leave a generous tip and leave whatever you have not consumed for the ones who remain. Drive straight to the airport, board a plane for a city to the east, one famed for roosters, plums, and changeable weather. Drink only water. Keep eyes moist, attract no attention. Your future is assured.
Change all plans. This is the season of roosters and plums. Leave your lover, disinherit your sons, move your garden beyond the house. Sell your stock, rearrange furniture, remove rice paper from the walls. If you game with dice, desist; if not, risk whatever you own. You are the weathercock on the world’s roof, and the wind is gathering head.
AT THE COFFEE SHOP
She tells you “He’s left-handed,” the young man drawing colored items on the menu board. You point to your nose. “I’m not nosy,” she insists, “just interested.” Tomorrow she’ll forget this conversation, tell you one more time about her mother’s athletic skill, how she played tennis for her club and climbed a mountain in the company of men. She’ll confuse her dreams with reality – a girl bursting into her room at 4 a.m., worried to death because you haven’t called to let her know you’ve reached Alaska or a magazine on her coffee table with all the pages cut. “All my life I’ve had such vivid dreams.” At the coffee shop you sip a dark roast. “Why don’t you have something special,” she asks again, “A latte or a cappuccino? What actually is a Rockaccino? Do you see that woman? The fashions they have now! It looks like a nightgown, something from a fairy story, a mermaid with a tail gliding across the table of the sea. Is that one a man or a woman? Look! They all have huge purses now, for holding their computers.” It stops raining; the world has turned to glass. How strange, how strange to be tumbling in time, waves of oblivion rushing towards your body as you help her stand to go.
Steve Klepetar’s work has appeared in nine countries, in such journals as Boston Literary Magazine, Deep Water, Antiphon, Red River Review, Snakeskin, Ygdrasil, and many others. Several of his poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Recent collections include My Son Writes an Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and The Li Bo Poems, both from Flutter Press.