Sunday, August 3, 2014


Our waitress
takes us down
to tour the cellar

added after
they bought the place.

They set it up
for private parties now
at Valentine’s Day.
President Bush (she doesn’t clarify which)
celebrated his birthday here once—she says

—and in
the close space
I contemplate
the smallness
of powerful men.

we walk—
up, up
the staircase
to patrons
clinking glasses
and slicing
into crab encrusted steak.

We imagine
the horses
out back, back in the day,
as lovers
now sit
in the courtyard
sipping cabernet.

we roam
the upper level in quiet,
look out onto the street,
the mist
of history
in the air.

Your voice
a half-whisper of awe,

it must
have been so cool
working out
of a station like this.

We descend
to the door,
to the sidewalk

and rain
greets us, pattering about
like a welcome home.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Enjoyed our trip to the Chicago area, where my husband was born, to visit family and to celebrate our anniversary and birthdays.

Photo © 2014 Jennifer Wagner
(click link if you want to know more about this historic building)
Photo © 2014 Jennifer Wagner



  1. You have drawn this scene so beautifully, Jennifer with "the mist of history hanging in the air" - I almost felt as if I was intruding on such a lovely, reflective moment shared between two people who have experienced the nuances of daily life together, for so many years and, at that moment, are in exactly the same contemplative place. The last stanza, conjured up, for me, all those great romantic movie scenes shot in the rain - a perfect finish.

  2. I loved the feelings and coziness you shared in your poem, Jennifer. You have conveyed history, the good food and wine very well. Happy belated anniversary and birthday!

  3. I, too, like "the mist of history hanging in the air" and your husband's awe. Happy anniversary and may you enjoy many decades more of them.

  4. I really enjoyed this poem, Jennifer. It sounds like a most special occasion. I do love Chicago, and you made me want to visit this Chicago Firehouse Restaurant!!

  5. i bet it was pretty cool to work in an old grandfather was a fireman...when he passed they gave us full honors...always chokes me up to think about it...firemen have a special place in my heart....hope you had some great celebrations...smiles.

  6. lovely. i like sense of history you imbued in the piece to match that of the place you described.

  7. that is cool... i love to visit old houses that breathe history with every pore and have so many stories to tell.. sounds like a cool trip

  8. "I contemplate
    the smallness
    of powerful men"...the lines catch due attention...very much atmospheric ......beautiful

  9. Lovely write .... being here after a long time .... seeing a difference everywhere, from the template to the writing pattern .... feels good ... Smiles!

  10. Vividly recreated, a fascinating glimpse.

  11. Very nice writting! I feel like I toured the place myself.

  12. Love this.. to some extent you also capture the sadness of the gentrification of what had other uses once... love how you ponder the smallness of the big men... (in that cellar tasting those expensive drops)....

  13. wonderful reflection of your time spent - must be an amazing place - K

  14. hahaha... been there, my son went to school in Chicago... I was impressed as I told him in a note when I got back to our humble NH home.
    I do like the style that compliments the art of your words. Wonderful piece.

  15. "the mist
    of history
    in the air." - My favourite lines. :)

    Beautifully penned.

  16. What a nice memory of a wonderful night - of course, any night with you is wonderful...

  17. history echoes
    as bricks acount the time
    each story

    Grand Jenn! _m

  18. I'm glad you enjoyed your vacation to Chicago. And I enjoyed your tour of the cellar here.

    Yes, a perfect ending:
    pattering about
    like a welcome home

  19. Felt as if I was with you in the cellar, in the restaurant, in the moment. The depth of thought and sensation is nicely related.


Thank you for your thoughts!