“‘It is not easy—talking to dragons.’”
~ Ursula K. Le Guin
In childhood dreams you’d descend on me—
your great blackness once loomed
like the shadow of a thundercloud
above my silken head, as i crouched on a jetty,
wind-blown, doused in sea-spray,
probing crevices with my stick, hoping
for some crustaceous claw to take hold.
Your recurring bellows landed
with the bass of Thor’s hammer
shuddering the dark of my youth
into the unflappable embryo i became—
though tempered, i was no more visible
than the silhouette inside an egg
held to a candle’s flame:
i was the shape of bedlam’s preceding silence…
O, iron of my blood! Sulfur of my depths!
i haven’t lived a flicker of your fiery heart, & yet—
flaked open like black shale,
with wings loosed in the sunlight, & cries
that white-cap the seas & split the moorlands—
o, how i blaze!
Stephanie L. Harper is a recently transplanted Oregonian living in Indianapolis, IN. Harper is a Pushcart Prize Nominee and was the 2019 Judge of the AWP Intro Journals Prize in Poetry. She 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, The High Window (Featured American Poet), Panoply, Isacoustic*, Riggwelter Press, Dust Poetry, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere.