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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

Missive (To the White Oak's Depths); Elegy for My Former Self

By: Stephanie L. Harper

Missive (To the White Oak's Depths)

i don’t find it a stretch to conceive

that you could one day be six hundred years old

& eyeing from your branch-tips a skyline of heliotropes

cultivated by aliens in the epoch that follows

humanity’s obliteration;

yet, i can make out no ghost

of your hands & fingers

beneath my feet,

piercing fathom upon fathom,

defying darkness,

transcending bedrock-skull.

O Engineer of Shadow!

Excavate my flesh-bound bulb

from the paltry daylight, & ferry me

with your thirsty tresses’ millions

in a leathered elbow’s crook


down into the black

stratum of blindness

the earth’s pressure transmogrifies

into vision

like a volcano’s belly

crushing coal into diamonds,

that my ruddy blood can dream

amidst the mycelial thrum

new vessels

to take root…


the great cloud i will accrete of your unseen

cosmos’ spent sugars in the worm-spewed earth

to ignite myself a star…

Elegy for My Former Self

Since your passing,

I’ve begun to capitalize

my first-person pronoun

in these efforts to have more

compassion for the uncommon

diamond fleck of a you

I used to persecute.

I never knew, before,

to carbon-date the combers’

trouncing eons you endured,

nor imagined (I swear)

what salt-bloated notions you shared

with your silicone-based quintillions

of counterparts in self-burial beneath

the millennia’s flotsam of sea-death.

Who could’ve guessed you just needed

to wait for that rarest of squalls

to blow through & leave the beach

ravaged in its briny slaver,

that with the new dawn,

you might flicker?


Stephanie L. Harper is a recently transplanted Oregonian living in Indianapolis, IN. Harper is the author of the chapbooks This Being Done and The Death’s-Head’s Testament. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Slippery Elm Literary Journal, Cathexis Northwest Press, Whale Road Review, Moonchild Magazine, North Dakota Quarterly, Panoply, and elsewhere.


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