Sunday, November 25, 2012

In Winter's Sights

she placed snowshoes on the mountain,
a shine to the lips of heaven

in a musical crunching of white
with peek-a-boo pine cones and twigs

it was in moments like this she felt it,
breathed it

when douglas firs and lodgepole pines
held a shimmering of frost

and a barn owl’s low hoot
gave her a sense of mulled cider

when the fire is just right
and so is the world

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner

Offerings:  The Poetry Pantry and dVerse

Monday, November 19, 2012

Interview at Poets United

I've had the honor of being interviewed by the talented Sherry of Poets United for the Life of a Poet Series.  If you would like to read it, go here:  Life of a Poet - Jennifer Wagner.  Thanks Sherry, I was truly surprised and honored to be featured!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


is a notion
of half-closed lids
in yellow flicks
of candlelight
against your bluegreen eyes
despite or because of
that lonely space between us
you pull me into
reaching for that tender
part you save for me
until i believe
i am the jewel
upon your hand
you always say i am
and melt like gold
in your palms

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Not a Circus Fan

Circus me a frown
clown in neon blue
with stripes
I see in my sleep

Oscillating, like a cyclone
like that time
after too many mango margaritas
in Cabo

pirate clown
black and white
and stubbly beard

I hope he won’t hug me
scratches, Patches
and his scent
like bourbon on Santa’s breath

Now there’s a clown

asking if “mommy” would like to sit
on his lap too

Watery eyes, seen too many
of glasses

And cigar smoke
fingering the suit

I make for
the other end of the sleigh
feeling a bit like sequins and legs

and hope for more
of stale popcorn
and less of
the inexplicable circus peanut

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Storytellers, Poets, Dreamers

shining, twinkling—
winking morse code
in the cold clear of night
peering toward hills
graced by tempered moon
and gathering breaths like visions
in baskets of words

holding gold, like dust—fragments
in upheld palms
releasing them to jump gracefully
spin, twirl like fireflies

climbing in the tenebrosity
and falling like stars 
on shoulders
whispering to hungry ears
a glittering of seasons

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner

dVerse OpenLinkNight

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Truce

sitting in the dust
accusers round her, thick—

with pride and spittle
dribbling their bearded chins

fingers pointing, fists shaking, rocks in hand—
the ground trembling with cries for justice

‘such women’ they yell, violent distaste rolling
off their tongues

one by one, they felt the mirrored shame in His words
until only one accuser remained

as she waited for the airless moment to pass
and a stone to pierce her

the two of them breathed slowly together, seconds ticking, until
she put it down, rose up, and began to pardon herself

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Settling Upon November

The artistry of SueAnn.  Used with permission.

Damp yellow leaves
and a hanging gray

settled upon November

with sharp scents of burning wood
and smoke encircling chimneys.

Head down, she trudged ‘home’

rain splattering her jacket
and hiding bright tears.

November, the month

she knew more than leaves
were dying.

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner

Monday, October 29, 2012

Night Witches (Nachthexen)

They flew in the cold,
in the pitch-blackness of an evil sky,
riddled with bullets.

No radios.

No parachutes.

2 bombs.

Engines cut
on the Polikarpov U-2,
to creep
up on sleeping monsters,

to visit their dreams
with light,
and bring the Reich and Reign
closer to hell.

Started them up
in mission, resolute,
crawling out on the wings,
on a limb,

for the rest of us.

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner


Did you know women flew airplanes in combat in WWII?  I didn’t until I visited the Flying Heritage Museum recently.  The 588th Night Bomber Regiment was made entirely of women who flew the PO-2.  They would sneak up on the enemy by cutting their engines, drop bombs, and then restart their engines to get away; even crawling out on the wings, mid-flight when necessary, to get the props going.  And then go and do it all over again throughout the freezing night.  Truly heroic.  The Nazis began to refer to them as Night Witches because of the terror this tactic inflicted.  Seemed like the right time of year to write about them.

The photos:  (top) a few of these amazing aviators.   And (right) the PO-2, the tail number honors the 23 who earned "Hero of the Soviet Union" citations. And (left) the lettering on the fuselage translates into "Revenge for Dusya," a tribute to the first Night Witch to be killed in combat.  30 of them were lost in all.  If you click any of the links here I recommend the "Revenge for Dusya"...really some fascinating reading from the book A Dance with Death.

Linking up to OpenLinkNight at dVerse, an amazing site for poetry.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


cobwebs thick upon your hands
dirt underneath your nails
embedded deep


you feel the crust
of tears and dirt
stuck to your lashes
            your nostrils

you make shallow breaths
repeat your name

you are

not                   dead                 yet

remind yourself
to come back
to the living

keep scratching and clawing


someone will need

your survival story one day

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wild Peaches and the River

 She tucked me into bed,
wrapped me in
an age-worn quilt
and I slept like the baby I nearly was.

When I woke,
I pulled the quilt around me
and tiptoed across the old wood floors
covered with braided rugs.

Rubbing sleep from my eyes,
I entered the kitchen
and watched her sitting at the farm table,
with a cup of steaming coffee, slicing a wild peach.

Her hands were still strong then;
and even now I never see a peach,
smell one, taste one,
without thinking of her.

She laughed, her mellow way, eyes crinkling,
when I said how much I liked the sweetness
but not the fuzzy skin which poked
like a prickly moustache against my mouth.

Overheard her saying, later
that she ‘got tickled’
when I’d said the pigs rooting in the pen
looked like they had ribbons in their tails.

When I’d trailed her
to the rabbit cages
and saw a mama rabbit
eat her own baby

she didn’t shield me
from the horror of it,
but let me ask the hard questions
and answered them, best she knew.

‘Fascinating’ is what I’d called it,
when asked about it back home.
And she was, too,
though I never said it.

Except at the cemetery overlooking the river
when I wished her back
to see me enjoy the sweetness in my life,
to bring lightness when it poked;

and because the questions
have only gotten harder.
But mostly, to hear her ‘tickled’ laughter
one more time.

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner

For Grandma.  Rest in peace, we so often rested in yours.