They Have Named My City a Hundred Times
Once for a woman with golden hair,
and once for the spirit hills rising
to the west. They have called it after
a species of bird that flocked in the
pine-rich woods, but hasn’t been seen
for a lifetime or two. A king named it
for his dog, another for his horse,
a third for a gleaming ship that brought
a Bronze Age army to its shores.
It’s been named for generals and queens,
businessmen with large mustaches,
for castles, cathedrals, and banks.
One time it took its name from some
great, roaring inland sea that turned
to sand thousands of years ago, leaving
fishbone fossils in the sedimentary rock.
Every street has had a hundred names –
Pear Street became Lion Street, and then
Flood Way, or Disaster Boulevard, and when
the smoke cleared, The Avenue of Curses and Remorse.
Steve Klepetar lives in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. His work has appeared widely in such journals as Chiron Review, Red River Review, and Muddy River Review, and has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize, including four in 2016. Recent collections include Family Reunion, A Landscape in Hell, and How Fascism Comes to America.