After You Leave the Room

The dead awake and rise in smoky curls
from walls and floor, faces coalescing

in pools of air.  Faces on the backs
of chairs and tabletop, eyes in window

frames, voices radiating through heat
registers and open doors.  Everywhere

your glowing breath leaves traces, sparks
where your light foot cut across rugs.

They draw near with dim, yellow eyes
big as lamps, kneel and rub their pale

hands warm. I recognize a rooster and a
wolf, their masks stretched tight against

hollow cheeks.  Fear bristles on their
desiccated skin, skims across their wide

lips . Here in your afterglow I recognize
their song, its tempo and harmony a wave

flung out on gravelly sand and sucked back
hard to sea.  “Whose heart was beating here?”

they want to know, “whose electric eyes
cut rivulets in this dry place?”  They cringe

when I name you Cassandra, keen
of eye. I call on your brilliant hair, you whose

voice collapses their towers of dust, their ancient
hill forts and stone work dams, their prisons

and caves, you whose flesh scents springtime
air, whose gestures fill familiar sky with flame.

Steve Klepetar

If you have any comments on this poem, Steve Klepetar would be pleased to hear them.