Monday, May 27, 2024

Rose Water


Trembling at the beach

on a day meant for indoors,


tossing her ashes

like a paper airplane


in the wind,


we knew it was

always going to be this way—


she was always

going to come back to us,


one way or another—


her ghost on the cereal box, first thing,

her costumes hanging in the attic,


somehow noisily animated

after dark.


Each of our eyes

a Lucky Strike,


red-rimmed and wondering

how to pilot


the rest of it

without her.




© 2024 Jennifer Wagner



For the List at Shay’s Word Garden

Thursday, May 23, 2024

At the Rokerij


That kiss just outside

the speakeasy

left me speechless.


It was dark inside, lit by candles,

and the heavy door, as an ancient time portal,

shut snug when we were ushered in.


I remember the way you looked at me,

and all the things you whispered,

sitting there caressing

my sandaled foot.



when we were left alone

to climb the hidden stair,


your hands were warm

and the stones cool

against my back.


You’ve always known what to say

and how to say it to me,

with your eyes dark,

glittering, cerulean coins—


and still now, in the corridor

to the dragon’s lair,

milky smoke rising from your nostrils,


leading me, willing sacrifice

in white velvet,

to everyday heaven.



© 2024 Jennifer Wagner


dVerse OLN


When you kiss the same guy for 26 years, and still want to.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Mariner's Astrolabe


I’ve lost all sweetness

that used to drip

off my tongue,


and you harbor

a hive of ghosts

of my wrongs.


I can’t see my way out of this,

when they’ve come out

of your mouth like fog.


So, I am lost,


of us,

the sky a darkening bruise,


no astrolabe,

no lighthouse,


to the spent-match orb

you call

your heart.



© 2024 Jennifer Wagner



Since I, somewhat jokingly, challenged Shay to write a poem about something she claimed she had nothing to say about (astrolabes), I felt it was only fair if I do it, too.


Her poem, which of course smokes anything out there because she’s just that good, can be found here.