Dead October

All night the dead gather on my front stoop
where a thin light burns. It is their holiday
now. My mother’s oldest friend holds the glass
of water I poured for her when I
was twelve, New York’s finest blend of chlorine
and cloud. “What’s this?” she asked, as if
I offered a glass drawn from puddles on the walk.
My colleague’s wife has sunk down, her long hair
tied back and pinned, her head slung wildly
in her tiny hands. Nobody sings.
My father looks around for someone he knows,
someone who might explain where he is to sit
and how long this whole affair is expected to take.
Only neighborhood dogs explode into sound, staccato
grief breaking seams of shadow and streetlight pools.

Steve Klepetar

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