Planet of Chairs

by Mary Catherine Harper Issue: Spring 2015
The morning news reports a study,
somebody’s findings of a direct correlation
between high crime rates and populations
having an above-average percentage of men,
the commentator finishing with a bold
caution against a world of men.

But what of a world of women,
where the generations of mothers suffer
anxiety through the unremitting rebellion
of clear-skinned daughters in slinky dresses,
and the generations of daughters endure
the open arms of the long-suffering?

It’s not quite like utopian page turners
scribbled well over a century ago,
where the children of women wander
insouciantly, protected by watchful trees,
where the queen of the forest reclines
against an oak, nursing her young.

Instead the story of a planet of chairs
dusted daily but seldom warmed by
girl bones, mother spread, grandmother
ache, this the house that Jill keeps
for herself, armed with 39 bleached socks,
a loaf of bread, and a pair of pinking shears.

Mary Catherine Harper, Defiance College Professor of English and poet, teaches creative writing, literature, and composition. She organizes and reads poetry at the yearly SwampFire Retreat of artists and writers at 4 Corners Gallery in Angola, Indiana. Her publications have appeared in MidAmerica, Pudding Magazine, The Cleveland Review,, and New England Review. Her poem “Muddy World” won the 2013 Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize of the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature. More information can be found on the internet at