Friday, July 27, 2012

Paper Dolls, 1950’s Single Mother

butter she
mixed with sugar
and fed to us
on saltine crackers

we washed it down
with powdered milk
we were poor
we were rich
we didn’t know either

until we
went to school
and our dolls of paper,
to friends whose had
vinyl and mohair
and real clothes,

became priceless
she’d made
them all
by hand

for Mom and for Grandma (Elaine Rogers, 1926 – 2010)
Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner
added to The Poetry Pantry

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Noonday Jackals

Her thoughts took a dark turn
like jackals in the threadbare sun
ripping, ripping until she couldn’t see
herself, now a carcass of once-sought dreams;
a bone-hollow skeleton
stripped of all marrow by which future is made,
where the ink dried within.

Blood, first red then black, gathered in pools
around her head
until the ears spilled no more.
She’d done it to drown out the howling—
for who can bear the noise
of a broken heart?

The muting of syndicate
mocking and whimpering replete,
she worked the metallic taste of hate off her tongue.
It lingered though and became bitter
so she used her teeth to bite into its flesh
for nothing other than to taste a mellowing of salt.

A waft of perfume lingered in the cloying rot,
the remnant of her identity laying in the dust
while the air spilled with the scent of her decay;
a lone paper, yellowed and curled at the corners,
rattled in a wisp of wind.

A cloud began to form on the horizon,
a growing mist of dry, kicked-up earth,
swirling and choking the throat of tortuous barbs.
The cyclonic reclamation filled the desert of scars and loneliness,
returned sinew and marrow, blood and ink
to the supine form of the battered giant
of a dream so big the rabid enemy of her soul
was lost for strategy to bring down.

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, July 20, 2012

Summer Crickets

we held them
in an empty jar
holes popped into the lid

trickling grasses
and bits of dirt
to make their new home

they were always gone
by morning
set free as we slept

by grandpa
saving them
for tomorrow’s hunt

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Telling

she carpeted her windswept fears with conversational banality
every time he chanced upon her truths

when those raw elements exuded from her blood to her tissues
she could hold them back no longer

she had no more strength to restrain
those flooding fibers,

the secret self, less understood but more familiar even
than the blouse of self-belittlements she had grown accustomed to

with tremulous hand she peeled back the covers of her deathbed

when the things she could never say
began to drip, horrifyingly, from her lips

she knew she’d been dying to tell him
it was death not to

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner 
Linked in the 1st Anniversary Edition of dVerse Poets Pub OpenLinkNight

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Unsung Rain

I held you in my hands,
cupped you to my face,
drenched myself in your flood,
and hid tears in your presence
                        as a secret we shared.

Your music put me to sleep
and drowned the echo of sorrows
in long nights you rocked me,
showering drops against the pane
—were you begging to be let in?

When you stayed until the morning
washing and making things new,
I’d wake and sing my insensitive song,
frowning, I’d begin…
“Rain, rain go away…"

Even then you would sigh,
contentedly, from heaven;
peering sheepishly from behind clouds
as I wiped the sugars off my mouth
from the fruits that were your labor.

Never did you seek applause of me,
always willing to play sidekick, straight man, to our comedic sun
while I laughed among flowered mornings
that without you
                        would never have been quite so sweet.

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Reconciling the Sea - a series haiku

watching driftwood
roll in                   

slow sea breeze
blowing salt
into old wounds

the undercurrent
an ocean
between them

the tide
rinsing away
bitter roots

like seaweed

their kiss
on the beach
even seagulls speechless

tongues make
slow laps

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner

added to dVerse Poetics: Whatever the Weather and Poets United Poetry Pantry 

Sunday, July 1, 2012


the crumbs of midnight
still hang on the eaves of disappointment
while she longs for tenderness
from an empty bottle
of hope

it stares back, blankly
wordlessly reminding her
unfittingly placed
it does not spring eternal

nor can it button
the suit of outgrown
reasons she pulls the cork
to suck from its desiccated dregs again 

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner
added to dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night