Friday, April 4, 2014

In Memory

photo © 2014 jennifer wagner

what is found
when we are
broken down
to remnants, to debris?

things we treasured,
things we valued?

as i read the names
of the lost and missing
my tongue

each   L
each   I
each   F
each   E
i gulp
and time

91 years
71 years
69, 67, 66, 65, 64, 63, 61, 60 years
59, 58, 55, 53, 52 years
49, 47, 45, 41 years
36, 35, 31 years
23, 21 years
19 years
14 years
13 years
6 years
5 years
4 years
2 years
4 months

how quickly, each,
in a moment’s breath,
like the morning fog,

to be summed up
not by things
but by those who cared,
who knew what made them
more than mist.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

As of today there are 30 people confirmed dead and 17 still missing in the landslide in Oso.  I tried to get all the ages of victims down here (some victims were the same age, of course); my apologies for any I have missed.
The team my husband is on will hand the baton to the next set of searchers and will likely be able to come home tomorrow for much needed rest.  We haven’t seen him since he left to be a part of the search but we have been able to talk.  He has some heartbreaking and amazing stories.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I bore your neurotoxic carvings
into my skin,
nerve endings dangling, exposed,
until I transformed
into something
even I
no longer recognized.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner


Friday, March 28, 2014


Photo © 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Spring’s love note comes
like riotous femininity
sipping pink champagne
and throwing her head back
saying, “catch me,
if you can.”

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

For Imaginary Garden with Real Toads: Artistic Interpretations with Margaret – Flowers.  Cherry blossoms say “spring” to me.  So glad to see them!

Thursday, March 27, 2014


photo © 2014 jennifer wagner

extra treats,
longer hugs.

laryngeal paralysis
& age
are taking you
the next phase.

we mentally
try to hear
the future

of hefty paws
padding the floor,
and your bones
with the creaking of the stairs.

we say things like:

remember when he stole that entire ham?
we’ll never have another dog
like him.
he’s happy;
he’s had a good life.
i want to be the one to dig his grave,
when you know,

your slow-wag tail,
your chocolate eyes
melt us

and each of us
for how
we can learn to say,

do svidaniya, drug.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

I’ve been working on this one for a while.  Too emotional.  Our big, mellow Labrador, Druke, is 13 years old and the signs are all there.  “Druke” is how we spell his name, pronounced “drug/droogk” meaning “friend” in Russian.

до свидания, друг

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Search & Rescue

The last I heard from you was
at 5:30am

and I turn off the TV now
to rain forecast and reports
of mud to turn to quicksand.

I’m not supposed to worry.

I’m not supposed to worry.

I’m not supposed to worry.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Hearts and prayers and hands continue to go out for the victims and their loved ones of the mudslide in Oso, WA in which 14 have died and many are missing.  My husband is part of the USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) team deployed in the rescue and recovery effort.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Varied Thrush

At the beginning,
and afters,

(the dawn,
the dusk,
the eclipsing of the rain shower),

you call:

1. wake up

2. calmly be

3. rejoice

I think you’re right.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

We hear the Varied Thrush from our house every day.  I haven’t gotten a photo (they are quick to hide), but they are pretty orange and bluish-gray birds with a call much like a referee’s whistle.

For the open link at Poets United Poetry Pantry

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Lovers' Boats (Naked, Unashamed)

Fairyland – Sunita Khedekar

beez buzz


the pleasant


of cotton candy pink
feather and wing

and clothes

and skin dip-

into the splash, giggling

a sarcoline
memory quilting

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

At dVerse Poetics Grace has invited us to write to the delightfully vibrant artwork of Sunita Khedekar.  She also encouraged us to use color words with the help of The Phrontistery.  The piece I chose to write to reminded me of a cabin we’ve stayed at a few times with a private outdoor hot tub in a beautiful natural settingtrees, creekjust picturesque.  We always chuckle at a sign they have posted there that reads, “We don’t skinny dip, we chunky dunk.”  Anyway, however you aremake a splash. ;)

Thursday, March 13, 2014


What Lies Beneath – Vandy Massey

Let all the dry and brittle
fall away,

you’ll green again.

I’ll climb you in summer,

speaking poetry
to my own ears,

remembering the taste
of my own name,

letting all the dry and brittle
fall away,

to green again.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

For Sunday’s Featured Artist:  Vandy Massey at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads

Monday, March 10, 2014


Now, Mama Deborah was a prophet;
she knew what would happen.
She’d said a woman
was going to get the job done.

Sisera had been
dreaming of spoils—silver,
and purple garment plunder,
a woman on each shoulder—
his mother, so proud.

Until his mighty 900
were swept away
in the torrent of Kishon,
and he alone, on foot, found Jael.

And let’s just say
the stars were not aligned
in his favor.

You’d like some water?
I can do better,
here’s some milk.

Get cozy,
here’s a blanket,
that’s right,
take a load off.
There now,
rest your head—

they may not have made swords
fitted for feminine hands,
but trust me, a woman
knows how to get creative
when she must—

you may feel
a little sting;
this peg, this hammer
are no
small things.

And it happened, just
like Mama said.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Notes:  Deborah was a prophetess and judge (and poetsmiles) in ancient Israel.  Sisera was a notorious commander of the army of the Canaanites who had oppressed the Israelites for many years.  Jael was the woman who defeated him by driving a tent peg through his temple with a hammer, pinning his head to the ground. 

To read both prose and poetic accounts of the story of these heroines go here:  Judges 4, 5.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


i write to know myself,
see myself,
bare myself—myself, bare—

to scratch my existence,
my witness made manifest,
on the conflicting world’s wall,
jen was here

that is all.

and maybe my scratch
offers a differing/similar

a thing or two?

time will tell.

and that

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

For dVerse—Meeting the Bar:  Poetic Movements and Manifestos.  Gay Reiser Cannon has us writing manifesto poems.  Come take a look and join in!