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SHJ Issue 6
Fall 2012

[Four Poems]

by P. K. Harmon

What Wave

There is a wheel barrow 
minus its wheel—that is 
for cans. Glass goes in 

an old cooler that washed up. 
Mornings we rake into little 
piles to burn at night 
and there is where we cook, 
by the big shallow that 

fills at high tide.  All day 
we keep an eye out front 
for those little fish that 
make good bait for the bigger 

kind but mostly we are just 
sleeping. Every day that boy 
our child does something new 

and maybe nothing of this 
life will remain with him 
except a vague sort of wave.


What Birth

There is a little grass
hopper a pale neon green
as if it has only just
been borne out of some

spit sack crawling up
from the water catchment
to my place above the lagoon
where I sit tap tapping

on the typewriter to the wind
and the tiny clothes and
blankets that the wind flaps
and snaps like tiny flags

of a nation of easy going
sleepers, the tiny garments
of my infant son. That little
bug is really holding on

and it is most impressive
because there is pretty much
nothing I can do to insure
the safety of its progress.


What Affliction

Hey life is definitely not bad here
lagoon side picture perfect blue sunset
I mean who cares if it’s a cliché? Me?

No. Well maybe. I am getting a nice
tan sort of. I stepped on a sea urchin just
last night. I’m really becoming part of the

scene: I’ve got shells on the window sill here
lagoon side picture perfect blue no green
now sunset boats just floating okay bobbing

right in front of me life is mostly great
sure there is pain and suffering even
next door probably but there’s some whiskey

in the cupboard and as I say this view
is not bad with clouds as they are now
floating there above the lagoon above

the boats floating the sun sort of floating
I mean who cares if it’s a cliché? Well
ok maybe I do a little bit because I admit

I miss my lovely affliction
which maybe was love or something
to do with love so I’m saying

I’m not telling I’m just going
to sit here and watch the sky
after the sun is very much gone from it.


What Identity

scared of the blank

friends far away thinking of those friends

time on the island has made years
something like eight years yesterday
still ready to step off even further
so far away toward what

is even more blank
the ukulele is tuned to that
occasional rain

I thought the word sprits today
there was a rainbow just when I let
a feeling of infidelity enter

tonight I thought of all the faces
that I love while the others *blip*
flickered and *blip* were gone baby

I imagine your face still
scared of the blank too
I’m out here in the blue
thinking thinking of you

all of you eight years twenty
or one and I want to say
there is a child growing in her
that’s something.


SHJ Issue 6
Fall 2012

P. K. Harmon

is the founding Editor of Al in Aelon Kein: The Marshall Islands Literary Review and former theatre director and Humanities professor of the College of the Marshall Islands. A graduate of Ohio University’s Program in Creative Writing, he was recently Visiting Professor of Creative Writing for the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. He is currently a writing professor at the University of Guam.

Harmon has had individual poems published recently in Riverwind, The Marshall Islands Journal, and the Laurel Review. His poetry collection What Island was published by Serving House Books in 2011.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury