By Steve Klepetar
My Father Sings on a Sunday Afternoon
My mother says, “Your father was very musical.
Every Sunday he would eat lunch in our house…”
I remind her that he lived with us. “Where else
would he eat lunch?” She’s confused him
with her father, who used to play fourhanded piano
with his friend on Sundays, after lunch and a snooze,
something she’s told me ten thousand times before.
I remember how my father once rose from a pond,
his clothes dripping on that cool May morning.
He was trying to sing The Champagne Aria
(Finch’ han dal vino) from Don Giovanni,
but he sounded like an injured dog baying
in the moonlight, a suffering sound
without rhythm or tune.
I walked him by the hand to the fire,
helped him strip off his sopping clothes,
got him a towel and a robe.
My mother served him soup and bread and beer.
The radio was playing, and he moved his spoon
like a conductor’s baton in an uncertain 4/4 beat,
spraying bits of Leberknodle onto his chest
and on the table and the floor.
He stayed until the beer was gone, then left to play
chess with his friend from Prague. My mother went
to take a nap, and I cleared the table, folded the radio
and slipped it into my pocket, where it squeaked and sang
until the rain stopped and stars pierced their way into the sky.
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 includeMy 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.