Friday, June 23, 2023

Man Up


A dead bird

at five o’clock in the morning

on Father’s Day

lies in the grass

like a turned-up weed.


Bulletproof coffee

in one hand,

a lighter in another

to ward off tiny mosquitos

with a flick to the citronella candles,

I squint toward

the dead lump.


Man down!

cries a brother

while another lands close by

and flies off without a sound.


The air is already warm

and the sky is dusk in reverse.

Was it just his time

to go or was he just tired of it all?


A too-quick dog

wraps drooling jaws

around the carcass

before my son

gets to it with a garbage bag.


So, this is it.  Dogs and garbage bags

mark The End.


I go inside to make breakfast

for a man who has made me laugh

for 25 years

and became a father the first day he

said I do to us.


Man, up.


© 2023 Jennifer Wagner




Wednesday, June 21, 2023

My Orange Tree


The image of my son, sunning, eyes closed,

stretched out on a lounge chair,

orange peel piled up on his chest,


mimosas in crystal, fresh-squeezed in a cup,

sweet slices with buttered bread for lunch,


with bright mini globes

smiling from the green dark

and white petal fragrance

bolder than whispering


the names of things we love.



© 2023 Jennifer Wagner


dVerse: What colour is hope?

Monday, June 19, 2023


I dreamt we were dancing

in the backyard

the way we used to.


Soft, cool grass

beneath our feet,

lights and stars twinkling

against the dark.


You’d lift me up

because you could

and we’d fall down laughing

as some 80’s song

played back

all our truths.


How did we fall

into this?

Onto opposite sides

of the seismic crack

in the earth of our few years?


I suppose we were

always broken from the start.

Already finished,

the way stars collide

and quit something

small and beautiful at birth.


We could never

be to each other

quite what we’d wanted—

differences too marked

to reconcile.


But I will go on


until the dancing

draws us home.



© 2023 Jennifer Wagner


dVerse Poetics Musical Muses (I am too late to link)

Poetic Bloomings: Shall We Dance?