The way to our house takes you past the river
where it bends around Beaver Island, flowing
toward the dam. In June, boys toss
their lines with calm restraint. Their eyes
have become clouds, faces serene as statues
from a land of sun-bleached stone.
They wave as you pass, three hands or four,
and maybe the wind ruffles their hair,
and somewhere strange fish rise toward
the surface with their ancient gills
and their blood. And the road leads down
into a valley of golden trees, where sky changes
color beneath the scarlet sun. You may hear
women singing in the flower-sprinkled grass,
or you may feel the breath of their tongues
as words roll across the yard. There is a word
for anger, and one for spite, and quite another
to describe the hot scent of bread, or the way
to connect two bodies with a little bridge of flesh.
The House No One Remembers
Here in the north it sits abandoned,
hunched in the wind, a silent place
with a hundred mouths and broken
tongues. Seven hothouse lilies stood
in a clear glass vase, seven cats curled
gray bodies around the hearth, as smoke
braided above the chimney, while cold
sun stared down on juniper and pine.
A sister lived there with seven brothers
who flew into the sky as their black
wings dripped blood onto new fallen
snow. Seven years without laughter
or a single word to disturb the silence
she has come to love, or the rhythm
of her hands weaving brightly colored
tapestries of change. Clean floors, clean
linens, bread and cheese, a table rubbed
with lemon and oil. Water drawn from a
clear well. No boots thumping, no snores
or snapping towels, no coarse hairs
in the sink, just her visions growing like a slow
flame, consuming her day by day without pain.
STEVE KLEPETAR’s work has appeared widely and has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize, including four in 2016. His most recent collections are Family Reunion, A Landscape in Hell, and How Fascism Comes to America.
REBECCA PYLE, now living above a hundred-foot rock garden near the Great Salt Lake in Utah, has artwork that will appear or is forthcoming in Hawai’i Review, New England Review, and the art / lit publication Raven Chronicles, out of Seattle. See a collection of her artwork at rebeccapyleartist.com. She is also a writer, a member of the writers’ group The King’s English, and recent work by her can be found in The Healing Muse, Stoneboat and (later this year) the Wisconsin Review.