My Father Lands
in the Basket of Moon
by Steve Klepetar

I watched him leap from our roof a thousand times,
silver rocket against the night sky, traced his trajectory
against a wash of stars.  How his hair burned, my father
in his black cape, long arms pulling at currents of air.
Every night I found nickels scattered beneath his slate
blue chair, pennies with their bright, metallic smell,
sometimes a blackened dime, all that ballast tossed
aside, scooped them in my hands and filled a
mayonnaise jar which I kept at the back of my closet,
behind my coat until I could reach down wrist deep
into a tiny sea of coins.  I’ve seen him fly for hours
above city lights, coasting along a stream of wind and
found his body broken on a vacant lot or deserted street
or at the beach on winter-frozen sand.  Mornings he’d offer
me tea and toast, remnants of last night’s meat—cold
hamburger or charred bits of steak, a pork chop or some
sausages sliced up on a pale blue plate. I was hungry
then, before school, homework slipped between pages
of my books and he’d look at me sadly.  “1-A,” he’d say
as I moved into the silence of his prayer.  I always hoped
he’d make it one day, with just the right amount of spring
in his flexible legs to break gravity’s knuckle grasp, lift his
body out into the stratosphere, to the waiting basket of moon.


Steve Klepetar, a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, teaches
literature and writing at Saint Cloud State University in Minnesota.  

On “My Father Lands in the Basket of Moon”:
When my father read my first published poem he shouted, “Look
Eva, Steven has a poem published!  It is ununderstandable!”  
He wouldn’t have understood this one either (or any in this series
of father poems), nor would he have recognized that wild shadow
father in his kind and gentle being.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 4, Number 1
(Spring 2009)

Copyright © 2009
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.