POETRY: ‘Prey’ & ‘Beauty & the Beast’ by Robert Harper




Six inches from the ground

she clung like a puffin

on a cliff, eyes wider

than the gutter depths,

waiting for the right time

to swoop; she flicked embers

of her last thought down

the drain. Relaxed her grip

which fed into a smile; one foot

after the other, in careful steps

toward a car. She waited

with the patience of a bird

as the tinted glass rolled down.

Are you the hunter? said one.

Now that depends…

















Beauty and the Beast


Snow hangs, strung above their heads,

as the tune skips and swings; beat by beat,

fingers dancing in shadows. Each table,

lit with the precision of a tin can, host

to four or more; a cluster of caffeinated

addicts—adrenaline pumping faster

than the gypsy jazz bass lines. He talks.


We listen. Or should I say, we listen

but he does not care to even try;

he works his words, watches eyes, defiles bar

after bar to find his way beyond our fret.


And then applause, hands shake before

the long walk home; a night five below

our last trip into town, and yet his coda lies

before him; an untouched strip of frost

on which he treads.


Copyright © Robert Harper, 2015

Robert-Harper-poetRobert Harper is the founding editor of Bare Fiction Magazine and artistic director of Bare Fiction Theatre Company. His poetry has been published by The Interpreter’s House, Wenlock Poetry Festival, Prole, Acumen, Royal Philharmonic Society, by Rebecca Goss for National Children’s Heart Week 2014, and in the anthologies ‘fathers and what must be said’ (Rebel Poetry Ireland) & ‘I am part of that generation’: Poems from the 2014 PBS National Student Poetry Competition for which he was Highly Commended.

Banner Image: Copyright © Jo Mazelis, 2015