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
“ ...a poet of exquisite wit, dark humor and trustworthy insight.”
--Susan Ludvigson, author of Everything Winged Must Be Dreaming, To Find the Gold
Two Pushcart Nominations

Toward Desire

Effie Swears

she could love you
like a young girl,
giddy and gawky,
her smile as simple
and guileless as a nun.
She could show you
adolescent adoration
shot through with yearning
so transparent you could see
her heart as clearly as the yellow finch
scuttling leaves in the sweet gum out back.
She could peel desire from you
as awkwardly as the first time
stripping a peach of its fuzz.

But she is forty full
and well into fidelity
that rides her shoulder
like a pet monkey
chained daintily to her wrist,
so that when she shakes your hand
or reaches for your undoing,
her monkey coos into her ear,
sweeps his tail
across her spine
provoking goosebumps
as blind to age
as she could make you.

She could.

Gustav’s Ammo

Sit on my lap, here, he directed me
and I would sit down up on his knees.
He threw bread to the squirrels,
nickels to the young Albanese boys who crowded
around our porch like a pack of terriers
starving for everything. He told us
stories the war denied him about cousins,
brothers, of their wives, children, successes,
all fictional, all lies, all of them dead as charity
by the end of the war, the one from which he
escaped to grow fat in America.
He shingled and tarred roofs, tin
flashing neatly pinned to eaves and overhangs
bright as medals on the breasts of houses,
as nickels tossed to the boys,
as bullets Gustav carried in his pocket like change.