Steve Sibra

The Letterman

There’s a dead guy hanging
in downtown bars, he’s haunting
my letterman’s coat, wearing
cream and red colors
girls think he is the top
in pops, he signs my autograph
slops drinks down their shirts
they laugh, nudge his dead shoulder
they think he is me, just wiser
just older, just tanner, blonder,
bolder -- makes me wonder
which part of my impending corpse
has he crawled out from under?
What words he speaks
come from my tongue, air
so long dead inside my lungs?
How long have I held it --
how deep in the puddle must I sink,
before my conscience decides
to swim? There is a dead guy
haunting downtown bars, my red
and cream letterman’s coat
covers all his scars, everybody
loves him, if I touch him
with broken, tattered fingers
am I a dead man as well?
Am I just an afterthought,
a feeling which lingers?
If the dead guy downtown
is really me, am I looking down
from Heaven or up from Hell?
He is doing a good job,
I am not sure it matters.

Dragging For Bones

My Grampa he got shot
it was a hundred years ago
in the field right
where the sun goes
flat against the horizon -
plowed him under
poured water on his grave
then just let it be.

I been working this land
Thirty hard years
couple times I thought I found
the spot, but it was just
rocks. I am not done
yet, I am gonna find him -
piece it all back together.
I want to see my Grampa
watch the sun set proper.
I want him to rest
I want him to see the change
in the sky as the clouds move in,
bring rain unto the righteous.

I want to feel him breathe.


Think back to raw winter,
gigantic snowy owl;
how boldly she presented, sculpture of naked light
against brown and gunmetal
backdrop of barren shelterbelt –
inside the wind’s brassy howl –

when she spread barn-tightened sinew
to fly, we knew
if she chose, she could close the sky:
the light, the night, the gasp of air
we breathe –
she could take it all to wing, and leave
trees behind, leafless;
people, lifeless

earth, blind as painted mirrors.

Steve Sibra grew up near a very small farming town in eastern Montana. He now lives in Seattle where, for the past thirty years, he has made his living by buying and selling vintage comic books. Steve's work has appeared in numerous literary journals including Matador Review, Jellyfish Review, and Gravel. He is a member of Seattle Fiction Federation and has featured at Capitol Hill Poetry Brunch and elsewhere..

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