Tuesday, October 15, 2019


to forgive you
i had to go back,
bitterness falling like leaves

picking up stones,
gathering them
by the basketful—

my skin, arms, and back
riven and bloodied
with the buckling load

i’d intended to throw
with my calloused
and burning hands

but the sun on the leaves
that day in october
was so glorious,

and i felt so rich,
knew i was so rich, that
i laid the basket down

at your feet and
stretched out
my arms

bitterness falling, gently,
like leaves

© 2019 jennifer wagner

Sunday, September 29, 2019


How we hated Lamonts,
my aunt and I,
as her sister—my mother,
her mother—my grandma,
shopped and tried
on somebody else’s
soon-to-be clothes.

It was the smell,
we said,
or the way
it made us feel

or defined
by dress or bra or shoe.

And leave to breathe,
fairly sprinting to her car,

in search of that bright patch of sky
that agreed
we were already enough.

© 2019 Jennifer Wagner

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Soon: Spiders

Dalí looks at me
from across the room,
time melting as if exhausted
from the heat.

That look: like puppy dog eyes
pleading for a shift in the breeze.

But, no, I say,
don’t do that to me.
The darkness is coming,
so damp and rich I can taste it.

And soon:

© 2019 Jennifer Wagner

Reference:  Salvador Dalí's clocks in The Persistence of Memory.