Poetry By Mary Catherine Harper

Image by Clara Change / claraming.com

Four Words of the Apocalypse

Omission The best kind of lie contains the truth: “I left you so I wouldn’t have to kill you.” Ouroboros What if Loki is no evil force, merely self-preservation run amok. Just before we destroy everything, the truth of it revealed, the accident of intention. Shiva’s legs and arms the spidering out of creation handy-dandy from beginning to end. And don’t think you’re safe in the belly of a stone, it too is destined to crack open from the inside. Penultimate February wind drifting into the howl of March and other phenomena verging on extinction. Anything that leapfrogs its fellow force so as to win what it thinks is a competition. Ricochet The bullet in a brain case can ricochet for years before the skull bursts from the pressure of blood. You tell it like you were sleep walking, the whole time dreaming of a rufous hummingbird dive bombing your red hair until you finally lost your temper, slapped at her and she fell dead at your feet. Except that it was you who got slapped, your jaw cracking and something shifting loose inside the way you think about how men and women are supposed to glue themselves to each other. Something honest might come of this blood, of you waking to the taste of metal, the grit of bone fragments, but only by putting your tongue to the floor where the slick of you has pooled for scrying the future.



Eleusinian Mystery

To make something of the someone who isn’t here with us More to be made of the someone who isn’t here Never enough made of the someone who isn’t The someone who disappears like the instar of a moth The someone whose purpose is to disappear The someone who finds herself disappearing The someone whose purpose is to appear The someone whose purpose is to appear speechless The someone whose appearance leaves us speechless The someone whose appearance is unspeakable The appearance that leaves her unspeakable The appearance that leaves her The appearance that leaves The appearance



Diving In

I How to stare at the rising sun without burning the retina out How to survive the tidal pull without jeering at the moon How to climb to the summit without getting struck by lightning How to walk the knife edge without bleeding to death How to spelunk to the earth’s core without running out of oxygen How to unhinge heaven’s door without falling to Tartarus II Try practicing levitation above the water to be planted in the sea breeze You will feel the tug of the tide but mostly the riptide Dare to send your roots into the stone that wombs all gods of the underworld Find yourself resisting the urge to interrogate your own contrary motions Dig to the heart of mud while fastening your eyes on the white of clouds There is no diving in without first swallowing the waterfall



Mary Catherine Harper, originally from the drylands of Southwest Kansas—the edge of the Rockies, the expanse of the Four Corners desert—has made her home at the confluence of the Auglaize and Maumee rivers in Ohio and organizes and reads poetry at the yearly SwampFire Retreat of artists and writers at 4 Corners Gallery in Angola, Indiana. Most recently her poetry has appeared in The Comstock Review, Cold Mountain Review, Old Northwest Review, Pudding Magazine, SLAB, MidAmerica, Print-Oriented Bastards, and The Offbeat, and her poem “Muddy World” won the 2013 Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize. Her chapbook, Some Gods Don’t Need Saints, was recently published.