Sunday, April 28, 2024

Our Old Town


Our old town

lies at the bottom of a lake

like Arenal and Tronadora

in Lake Arenal.


New ones have sprung up

like wildflowers

around it.


But, they’re not the same.


Sure, they have

their beautiful distractions

like scenes from a movie—


views of snakes and jaguars

stretching themselves

near waterfalls,


a peacock shimmy-shaking

on the grass,

little pastel houses

clinging to cliffs.


But this isn’t what I want.

Never was.

Even back before we had money.


You know I’d live on love.


I’d sell it all and move

to Nicoya on the cheap

to feel that way again.


When I set the table for dinner,

and select a juicy tomato for the salad,

asking you what you imagine

chupacabra looks like,

I’m not just musing at random.


What I’m really saying is—

I’ve forgotten the mystery of you,

the wild smell of you up close,

and what it did to me.


I can’t even think of it now.

And so, I scuttle about

getting stuck

in the drying cement

of our resentments,


drowning for what

the fish only know now,

dancing around

our old town.



© 2024 Jennifer Wagner



Shay’s Word Garden Word List


NPM Day 28

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Sea Star


Sometimes I see us both

at the ocean shore

looking out.


You are wading further out from me

wearing your swimming trunks

and cheerful broken heart.


I want to cry out, Come Back,

and I do

cry out.


But you are gone—

an ocean between us.


Swinging prayers

like lanterns over the deep,

I hope for the light to

reach you,


for you to surface,

a Chinook

in the hook of your hands,


realizing what a catch you are.



© 2024 Jennifer Wagner


NPM Day 24

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Somehow I'd Forgotten All My Memories


Somehow, I’d forgotten

all my memories,

or was pretending to


like a zombie

milling about

in search

of sustenance.


So, after the funeral,

I ran.


After all the history sharing,

and others’ merry making,

I ran.


I tried to be nonchalant,

missing a few steps

on the way

down the stairs

and out the door.


It was this weird, clean

break inside me.


And how could I say it—

it was one I was happy for.


Since all my memories

weren’t roses and candy,

since more than a person had died

and my own heart

was still being stitched up

in fresh bandages,


I just wanted solace,

to turn up the stereo

in my car,

to drive through the mountains,

clouds breaking—


tossing my rings

out the window


to the Me Too

I left behind.



© 2024 Jennifer Wagner


For Shay’s Word Garden Word List—Save Yourself


NPM Day 17