Annie Harper


Terrible singing voice.  Just terrible.
Photos reveal her mood settled
at a young age.  Her bangs and blue eyeshadow.

Once she mustered edible play-dough.
For this I loved her more than anything.

My ponytail flew freely in a yellow car
with no top.  My father sang rock & roll.
I do not remember my mother in that car.

Mothers are trouble, she told me
so.  That and she always wanted to be a mother.

Like a bleating cow she fell over.  My birth
on the hall rug, my hair matted goo
till it was cleaned and stood straight up.

Always in nightgowns, nursing
a baby.  Her bare breast goes shopping.  Rides a train.

What she gave me: the need to be taken seriously,
the urgency to get it over with. No time
to apologize for the past. It moves on.


Annie Harper is currently completing her MFA in poetry at Oregon State University. Her poems have previously appeared in touchstones magazine and Enormous Rooms. She is from Salt Lake City, Utah.

“I’ve never had a porch of my own, but I know that I want one. I imagine myself on a wraparound porch in a long skirt or wide-brimmed hat. By then I will have earned my chin whiskers and pipe. I smoke and talk to the man who has driven for a long time to arrive at my porch. A fussy puppy (or maybe someone’s small dirty child) comes in and out of the screen door with a toy in its mouth.”