C.N.P Poetry 

  • Cathexis 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,

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…


Imagine!


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.