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Free verse poetry by
Mary Catherine Harper

Stumbling Upon Indian Arch


So we walked to the Natural Bridge
Red River Gorge falling below us
walked in forests of rhododendron
limestone walls our home for the week
we straying with purpose from tourist
trails off the old Sheltowee Trace
each path leading to yet another path
the grand adventure of our summer

a summer as packed with local stories
as trails to find and lose and find again
all of them stories of imprudent sorry death
like the Promethean boy atop Gray's Arch
stepping backward falling falling from
the keystone as his shirt went up in flames
or the one two three no four teens it seems
trying to piss in the middle of the night
over the cliff without fully stepping out of
their sleeping bags of goosedown
and that ever-so-slippery ripstop fabric

once the slide begins there’s no stopping it
no stopping it for two three four white boys
so a native says with a knowing look
crossing his face says that only in the fall from
that one side of Gray’s Arch can you see
the inobtrusive Indian Arch standing watch
further down the trail its elegant curve
hidden from the tourists tramping in line
with nearby ridges their footprints
bound to trails that fear what so many
of us think of as the deep of wilderness

Sing Me a Lullaby
Think of all the lives
saved by plastic knives

Barenaked Ladies


The invisible wounds, beginning to heal
now, but itching like that prickly feeling
at the nape of the neck when danger
slips in behind,
. . . so begins this 28-line poem.

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