Tuesday, May 27, 2014


yellow sun


sails bright                                                                          d
and                                                                             e

 r                                                         n
i                                   o                                             
b          b

in the wind

seafarers seeking
the greatest, lightest burden of them all,

the spice, cocoa,
paint and dye,
the import/export—
of color, comfort,
and risk—

soaring like a fuchsia bird
in an infinite, indigo sky


us to come along,

to gather up our
castaway hearts
and leave our
shipwrecked shores

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

depression, acute

how do i tell her
it may get darker,
the night longer—

what i know
from my hollow
and vacant days?

the night may stretch you
than you ever thought
you could be stretched

by damp sheets
twisted at your wrists, elbows,
knees, ankles—

and you welcome it.
because getting up

and facing the day
feels like
a vortex of mud
and shrapnel

covered in bits of
your flesh
and blood—

pieces of you
in action.

and now
you are stuck
to inaction.

you don’t know
or where you will find
the switchblade
to cut yourself
from its mocking

to begin your life

i don’t mean
it’s hopeless;
i never mean that.

i just know
to face the day

cooks longer
on the grill

some pre-packaged smile
someone will try to hand

like a flippant curse
to your inability
to rise above
and simply “be happy” now.

as if they have some idea
that depression and happiness
are not even at war

you’re caught
in the fallout,
the aftermath.

like a personal chernobyl,
the long-term effects
are still being accounted for.

but i tell her
you can
i did—

and move the blade
a little closer.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bye-bye Bad Blood

I buried
the bubonic bitterness
in the backyard;
built a bonfire
to burn
the bits
of the behemoth boa
the buzzards
wouldn’t bite.
It’s better off
instead of boiling
on my back.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

For Imaginary Garden with Read Toads, Words Count with Mama Zen:  a confession in 65 words or less.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Amanda Marie

We line pebbles
on the path,
for each day,
and hope for more.

Our eyes rove
the swish of leaves
in the verdant lushness
of treetops,

the bright snaps
of daisies,

the flitting burst
of butterflies
that land soft on our arms
and legs
and flip-flopped toes,

the swell
of the ocean,
with joy.

We watch
the sky burn pink
when night falls
and the stars begin to dance;

and contemplate
how all this reminds us
of how love’s branches budded
to bring us your smile.

Maybe tonight
Gavin and Cassidy and Sawyer
will dream
of their mother’s eyes,

Derik, her voice at his ear,

and Susan
of her little girl
so brave, so strong.

Something like
God’s lovenotes
even when
we’re not looking.

And what we thought
were scattered pebbles
lost in this life’s storm

are picked up
and churned with God’s tears
and our own,

placed in His bottle
these new-polished pebbles
are jewels
close to His heart,
treasured and unforgotten,

until we see
your smile bright again
and are


“You keep track of all my sorrows.  You have collected all my tears in your bottle.  You have recorded each one in your book.”  Psalm 56:8 NLT

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Behind the poem:  a few days ago my sister asked me if I could write a poem for her sister-in-law’s daughter, Amanda, who had been a given a prognosis of two weeks to live, as a special gift to her family.  She survived leukemia as a young child and had more recently been diagnosed with cancer again.  Yesterday she passed away.  She was 31 and has three children who are 8, 6, and 4 years old.  This poem is for her, for them, the man she shared her life with, her faith-filled mom, and all her family and friends who love her and wait for the day they will be together again.  With love and prayers for comfort and peace. ~ Jen

Saturday, May 10, 2014

no matter how you spell it...

photo © 2014 jennifer wagner

if i could
i would

break off
a piece
of the sun

to give
to you

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mother’s hearts out there!

© 2014 chalk sketch by me and my 6 year old.  He loves his familywe’ll keep working on the spellingsmiles

Friday, May 9, 2014

Are You Not Entertained?

We like
to do nothing.

For a moment
he found himself
looking up from the tracks

at scores of faces watching them.

“Some people were
snapping photos
or taking video with their cell phones,”
he said.

“It was amazing
seeing all these people

doing nothing,” he said.

“It was
an eye-opener.”

And we answer:

we like
to do nothing

snap photos
for Facebook and Instagram,
stand and observe—comment

on the misfortunes
of others
and how
the world
is so wrong.

But never
get our hands dirty

while she tumbles
head first
from the platform

we’re all
preaching from.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Italicized words are from the news article by Murray Weiss in DNAinfo New York:  Humble Hero Saves Teen Who Fell Onto Subway Tracks.

Title is a quote from the film Gladiator.

Monday, May 5, 2014


Chair with the Wings of a Vulture, 1960, Salvador Dali

from broken life
to broken life
the deadlight

lit candles warming
the addicts’ spoons,
lift plumes
like blackbirds’ wings,

moments that free them
to carrion,
eyes nightblind
to hope threaded
in a spindle spoke sky

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 159

Friday, May 2, 2014

fair maidens

photo © 2014 Jennifer Wagner

strawberry cream
and mint
renaissance girls,
spring’s popsicle juleps,

and the deer’s delight—
who wait
for the slumbering
of the gardener-knight

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


That April of the fall
it was already the burning season;
petal-damp tulips lined
the bent road, curving west.

We donned the camouflaged windbreaker
of nomads, who have nothing but each other—
dashed from rock to rock along the river’s edge
watching flames lick the surface, catching fire
to ferns and evergreens,
and burning down the barns and silos
behind us.

We ran from it, singed, to each other,
knowing together
we’d be able to save us
and our crumpled matchbook hearts
tossed somewhere in the
ka-chunk, ka-chunk, ka-chunk
of old tracks, trained so many
miles long.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Thursday, April 17, 2014

lemon blossom & lavender

my alabaster box is broken
my hair perfumed
i am the weeping woman, child
lost & found

i am like stardust
in the web of the moon, dreamer
asleep in the blue-flame rain, cloud and fog
delivered on the dark-smoke water
eyelids stirring
in dappled light
opening to the full
s     t     r     e     t     c     h
in the sweet summer sun
when everything is new again,

i am my best work
in my pajamas, cuddling
my preferred method
of communication

i am a seeker of poison
to extract from wounds,
salve when storm-blistered,
and hope when there is
nothing else

i am consumed
in crimson smolder passion
and peaceful glow, soft & bold

my alabaster box is broken
my hair perfumed
i am the weeping woman, child
lost & found

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

photo © 2014 jennifer wagner

For dVerse Meeting the Bar:  Self Portraits.  Brian has challenged us to write a "selfie" poem which can be "symbolic, metaphorical, descriptive".