Steve Klepetar's work has appeared worldwide, in such journals as Boston Literary Magazine, Chiron, Deep Water, Expound, Phenomenal Literature, Red River Review, Snakeskin, Voices Israel, Ygdrasil, and many others. Several of his poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize (including three in 2015). Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and The Li Bo Poems, both from Flutter Press. His full-length collection, Family Reunion, is forthcoming from Big Table Publishing.
We've been studying voices from the pond,
ones that rise when Leopard Frogs go still
and wind ceases its moaning through oak
leaves and ash. Sound bubbles up through
Wild Celery, Duckweed and Watershield.
Listen to the quiet song of underground,
quarter notes and phonemes we've been
carving on the flesh of our arms to break
that code. We would learn the language
of heaving earth, its terrors and deep sorrow.
On summer nights, we could absorb the liquid
air, enter flimsy bodies of insects and bats.
Together we could surrender our new skins
to the velvet dark, leave our bones and be transformed.
Leopard frogs (as well as Wild Celery, Duckweed, and Watershield) are native to Minnesota, where I have lived for the past thirty-three years. Once abundant, their numbers have been declining since the 1970's, so the idea of those creatures going still connects to growing concerns about the environment and the loss of species, as well as to a particular moment in the world of this poem that marks a sudden quiet, an occasion for dramatic transformation.