Poet: Amy Temple Harper, Portland, OR

Editor Staff, Poetry, October 3rd, 2012


Smalldoggies Poetry Feature #23: Amy Temple Harper, Portland, OR


           In this room
three is a crowd

Your lily hair is like the moon

I have a stick
as sharp as
a shooting star

The window washer’s office
balances on a scaffold
looking in

He cleans all our meanings
and rearranges them
by symbol

a spray here
           a wipe there

Once we admired the perfect view

Now on the 100th floor
a window looks
           to be a door

Each pane
a fraction of something
           I could love

I throw you out
the window
after poking you
in the eye

The sun is blocked
           by your fall
until we are both blind
           in the dark.

* * *

Dead or Alive

I wondered if we were still in love. We were still nervous when we ate. We ordered
just one thing and split it. Only people that love each other do that.

On the way to the store today I saw a dead squirrel in the road. I swerved to miss it.
On the way home, I hit it again.

This morning we shared one meal and we watched each other eat. I talked with my
mouth full and a few crumbs fell out on the table. I picked them up and continued
talking and eating.

The sky is so blue today. The leaves are falling from the trees. Each one I can hear
screaming save me. But I can’t save any of them.

During that one meal we had bacon and eggs over medium. I wonder who got to
stab the eggs and make them run.

We went to the park today. You pushed me in the swing. I laughed for the sheer joy
of gravity.

When you ate your bacon you picked it apart. A piece of spit flew through the air
and fell in the food. I ate your scraps, and I knew it tasted better now.

* * *

Never mind

When I believed that
seeing you clearly
abrogated a need
to shoot a moving target
I was already locked and loaded.

My hand has never
been steady
Never mind my eyesight. If
I close one eye and
stare straight down the sights
past the barrel of a gun

Nevermind the gun.

It is the aim I care about
a sure goal that reaches
for itself.

Never mind the aim.

It is the trigger that
makes me happy.

It sees its own vision
steady and final.

* * *

If I thought

crying were enough
to satisfy

I understand
it is both
too much
not enough.

* * *

* * *

Poet Amy Temple Harper, Portland, OR

Amy Temple Harper works as a teacher and a chef. She received her BA in English from the University of Oregon in 1993 and her M.Ed from Portland State University in 2009.

She is the author of Cramped Uptown, and she is currently working on a memoir. Harper lives and writes in Portland, Oregon.



More than one editor and/or contributor was responsible for the completion of this piece on NAILED.