Linda Lee Harper

Selected Works

My short story "Another Pittsburgh Story" should resonate for anybody familiar with the hills and bus routes of Pittsburgh, or any city really.
The poems in Linda Lee Harper's SMALL WAVES are technically adept and clever, --a pleasure, and that alone would justify the collection. They tell the truth about our lives--presentments of aging, unexpected desires--but tell it appealingly slant as Miss Dickinson suggests.
This is a terrific book of poems... and I am thrilled to be supervising its publication.
--Michael Dumanis, Director of the Cleveland State University Poetry Center
ď ...a poet of exquisite wit, dark humor and trustworthy insight.Ē
--Susan Ludvigson, author of Everything Winged Must Be Dreaming, To Find the Gold
Two Pushcart Nominations

There is this need,

she says, winding his percale shroud
tighter around his feet as she sews,
to forget the last week, to remind
ourselves this is just a snakebite
his life ended on when we werenít looking.

The rain, she continues, washes away
what he wants to stain us with.
She bites a piece of thread in two,
threads the last needle and stitches,
his feet tied together with fishing line.

Out here, she reminds me, we take care
of things like this ourselves. Why pay drinking
money to a gravedigger, she asks me, as she slips
more of the lead sinkers and lopped rebar into the last
slit gaping like an empty socket, whipstiches it closed.

He loved fishing more than me, she sighs, as we
lift him up the way he and I used to hoist deer
carcasses from the truck to the shed. The everlasting
waters, he called them, she says under her breath.
Donít waste tears, she warns me. The bastard.

Way past the bridge and up from the causeway
we unload, carry, push him in until the water grasps him,
the riverís mouth opening dark and hungry,
lips closing around him as he sinks silently, the current
whispering secrets we pretend not to hear,

trying not to conjure the errors of desirable phantoms,
injustices of the heart, gentle as an adder licking a wound.