Misty Harper studied writing in the MFA Creative Writing program of Indiana University. In 2005, The Poetry Society of America published her chapbook Guarding The Violins, which was selected by Charles Simic. She currently lives in Atlanta.

Two Poems by Misty Harper

The Difference Between

Often the queen's swollen body

Can weigh more than a regular pencil.

The Queen in public is not supposed to

Leave through the door she came in through.

A road is a road and a street

Is a road that's walked along?

The hand-drawn roadside sign

Hung in front of a small stand

Assured us that FIRE WORKS.

A single gap changes things.

Missing tooth, missing hubcap.

And of course a death any death.

A breach like an empty seat

And the woman beside it keeps

Checking her watch and looking back,

Up the aisle, up both aisles. Her look

Is of the self distrusting its hoping.

Even so it pokes its head through.

Visibly digesting expectation

As a snake will a mouse.


Alone won't stop playing


Alone pretends to be someone

named Leona.

Alone is lo and behold, un-beheld.

Alone will be heading to its beheading

alone. The self’s shelves of rib and shore,

itch and spore, waddle forth,

two people trying to parade as one horse.

The hours knock about inside them.

They cannot move like a horse.

Alone is baloney, is a loan,

a mortgage whose root

that means dead

won’t hide. Dead pledge.

Alone will hem, and haw, and hedge

at itself, a balcony loitering

after the building

is long-gone.

["Alone" was first published in Konundrum Engine Literary Review]