Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Photo © 2014 Jennifer Wagner

There are things we lost
in the flood

or after it
in the seeping, standing water

up past our hips.

It’s no use;
they’re gone.

Remember when
I told you

I thought
we weren’t strong enough,

maybe we
were too damaged

to make this work?

But you
only remember me saying

I’d stay
and let you try.

And for that
you’d give up everything, again,

because everything
means nothing.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Trap Door

I have a demon for sale

but it will cost you
more than
you are probably
willing to pay.

It has already
bled me drier than a
dead president’s kiss,

and still I owe.

I go
to great lengths
to starve it,

try to keep it at bay—

this drunk dial
sober reality
I try wishing away—

close the trap door,
cut it off
at its legs,

the cracks
in my armor, again,
from the fray.

when you love
something broken

you break

and you break
and you break.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

For dVerse Poetics Grace offers us the work of conceptual photographer Brooke Shaden.

Note:  I took some artistic license with the word "trapdoor."  I separated it for dramatic emphasis, in case anyone was hung up on the spelling, ha.  But dictionary.com says it can be "trap door" too, so maybe it's okay anyway.  Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

Things I Should Know By Now


something spilled
after mopping.

to not have
brushed teeth,
even with several reminders.

to throw garbage bags
“at” outdoor garbage bin
instead of “in” it.

to fret about being late
worse than
the White Rabbit.

dirty plates,
empty pizza box
where nineteen-year-old


to be loved
despite words
I should not have said
regarding the above.

to repeat.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Photo © 2014 Jennifer Wagner

artist point
how a mistake can still be
so beautiful

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Above is a photo I took this summer at Artist Point in Yellowstone National Park.  The location got its name because it was widely believed that Thomas Moran created a sketch there which he used to create his famous 1872 painting, The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.  In 1890 photographer F. Jay Hanes published a park guidebook with the name and the title stuck.  The location Moran actually used is now called Moran Point. 

I was trying to convey the essence of that history in the poem, as well as another message which I think has a connection to artistry of any type: poetry, photography, painting, motheringsmilesetc. that, even if it may not be perfect, it can still be pretty beautiful.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Light, Interrupted

In one season
life can

its own color,

every inch of ground

in death
brewed from

an age-old

leave the path covered
with skyjacked shadows

of nearly
three thousand

who died from the spread
of the disease—

but as shadows

light interrupted,
they are not then, nor now,

light forgotten.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Saturday, September 6, 2014

magnitude of creation (1)

Photo © 2014 Jennifer Wagner

the chickadees
and nuthatches

clap their wings
against their sides

zip, dip
from the feeder

and dip,
snip again

fly       a          w         a          y

and a moment later
back again
all day long

by inch 
we get closer, to the window

watch them
watch us
watch them

face to beak

and learn
in some small way

how each
small thing

is never

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

This summer I visited the Poetry Foundation in Chicago.  On display were some of Tony Fitzpatrick’s drawings The Secret Birds.  He says his grandmother used to say, “For the price of a piece of bread you can hear God sing.