They left in the night, taking with them
the scents of the world. First there was
disbelief. “This must be a joke,” we smiled
at each other, and we set out to find them
in forests and fields. But our dogs wouldn’t
come when we called, even when we offered
steak and bones, even when we whistled
in that pitch we ourselves could never hear.
The sky was empty of birds, leaf-heavy
trees silent on this late summer afternoon.
We ran to the park, but the peacock cages
stood empty. Even feathers had vanished
or blown away on rising wind. No geese
waddled by the river, no ducks bobbing
just beyond the shore. Cats were gone, milk
souring in their bowls. No midnight yowling
at the fence line, no swarms of gnats.
Suddenly we were alone with the empty seas.
We lay face down in mud, hoping to catch
a glimpse of frogs or toads, or hear a familiar
croak, or a clack of crickets disturbing the high grass.
Steve Klepetar’s work has appeared widely. His poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and The Li Bo Poems, both from Flutter Press, and Family Reunion, forthcoming from Big Table Publishing.