by Stephanie L. Harper and Robert Okaji

I remember what I cannot say
in the moment before
I somehow say something else,

but like a river reversing course
seeps its brackish warmth
into crisp mountain runoff channels,

my backdraft, too,
to stifle the resident cutthroats
along with their prey.

Nothing will remain safe for long
from the toxic sediments I bear
upstream, resisting

the current’s translucent
promise to rush me past the crest
of undulant reeds between
the salt marsh and open sea;

for no twist in the shoreline,
nor cloudburst’s surge could un-speak
the daylight

from its collapse
into the ocean’s black throat.


“Flux” first appeared on Underfoot Poetry, and is one of several pieces (with more to come) written during the past year in collaboration with Stephanie L. Harper, whose wisdom, patience and good humor enrich my life daily. Thank you, Daniel Paul Marshall and Tim Miller for taking this piece.

22 thoughts on “Flux

    • Out-of-control seems appropriate, and could be used to describe our process, which is anything but controlled. 😀 Haphazard, perhaps. Ha. Oh, I just asked if she minded if I posted this. In general I wouldn’t want to post one until it had had the opportunity to be published somewhere.

      Liked by 4 people

  1. Great answer, whichever of you two so typed “Ha!”. The juxtapositioning is magnetic, you two. (And the unresolved – at least by me – photo intrigues. This one will require much re-chewing fully to satisfy. It’s as if each verse hides unsponen – unwritten – text. I find myself shedding sympathy for the trout. “…un-speak the daylight”: what a marvelous phrase. Were I less a completely developed cad I would ask only one permission before stealing (with full credit(s) of course. But like any other rare gem found its way eyeward, I shall just share – as I did in my facebook posting – and will so fling upon richwrapper with your kind permissions. Thanks, Stephanie; thanks, Robert. I look forward to more. Much more.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m not sure that I could write with anyone but Stephanie. We’re so different in style and approach, yet manage to combine our strengths into a third voice. Trust plays a large part in that – we willingly relinquish our words to one another.


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