Dear Bob: Though the maps may superimpose
their abject separateness upon the thousands of miles
between us with traditional lettered-&-numbered-grids;
& though your birth into this timeline sixty years ago
graced the cosmos just shy of twelve earth-years
(also known as a full cycle of the Chinese zodiac)
before mine, I dare say that you & I are timeless—
certainly no less so than those archaic dragons
whose subterranean nests we are to extrapolate
from the fumaroles erupting at the maps' folds.
Of course, such implications of fierceness
can seem forbidding…
But for all the scaly terror of their talons
& spiky tails quaintly curled around caches
of sapphires, emeralds & gold medallions,
what those beasts are best known for
is interminable slumber, whereas we are wide awake—
besides, however notoriously considerable
our sundry existential concerns tend to be,
no one would fault us dogs for not knowing
our way home!
Long before I even knew I knew you,
something in me knew you were my One,
which is how I know I will find my way to your arms,
where I will remain yours forever, Stephanie.
My poem “Awakening” is now live in issue 17 of the fabulous online journal, Panoply! I’m immensely grateful to editors Jeff Santosuosso, Andrea Walker, and Ryn Holmes for selecting this piece, and for their passion and impeccable professionalism as promoters of poetry and Poet-kind!
Now is not the time for my fettered titanium lines—
no time for me to claim I know a thing or two about life as if I were anyone’s keeper…
A “suicidally depressed” convict doing life for murder petitioned my psychotherapist friend to treat him:
& so it was that with all the detached generosity a wife & mother of three could muster she rendered a diagnosis of anti-social personality disorder even as his icy eyes ignited in her a germ of lust that razed every trace of her in a sudden flush
Now is really not the time for idle moralizing about prisoners or locks & keys as if there were any kind of justice in poetry
It’s not the time for tying up loose ends saving pennies for rainy days or chrysalizing our wrinkly little walnut meats to pupate belief in the virtue of counting the hours
Now the dragon is awake blinking in the daylight of withering dreams wagging her head in a gnashing rage
STEPHANIE L. HARPER
“Imprisoned” was first published in issue IV ofClaudius Speaksin October 2017, and is included in my chapbook,This Being Done, released on July 6, 2018, and now available on Amazon.