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"Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard." Anne Sexton 

Heather Brager is a critically acclaimed juggler of calamity, an accomplished procrastinator, and shuffler of idioms. Her poetry and drawings can be found in various digital and print journals around the globe, and on the web.  She currently resides in New England and prefers the precipice of where the Atlantic meets the sand to the official looking office where she spends most of her time. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

October, begin.

and just like that, all of the endings were
drawn to sea, imaginary burdens pulled deep
under the morning tide as it succumbed to
the shoreline, unlimited power sucked against
my boots, with both feet firmly planted, the sun
finally reached me, warming my skin and hair

and what if truth is actually universal, love
synonymous with struggle the grandiose lie, what 
if pain and sacrifice were only fear hunting me 
down, dimming my irises to pale, sharpening
each edge to arm me against my own quiet
nakedness, my own space under a vacant sky

© 10.13.2017 heather brager

Monday, September 11, 2017

time, doors, and nothing.

I haven’t written you a
poem for several weeks,
not because there are no words,
(but lord knows you never listen)
because broken clocks are only
right twice a day, and broken
clocks are always right, twice a day

I spend a lot of time thinking
about doors, and one morning after
another morning, and how
open doors are something
entirely different to those frightened
of lost time, and of the dark, and for those who
long for damp air on their skin under the
moonlight, wasted time is terror, personified

these doors often lead to secret
passageways, perhaps only
I can see the doors with steadfast locks,
with keys that are not really missing
and you, you are everywhere, standing
in each doorway with your own key hanging
around your neck a delicate noose, around your
neck a clear escape, because an open door 
is just a broken clock

© 9.11.2017 heather brager

Thursday, July 27, 2017

every step echoes.

she will not speak of 
clemency, the remnants of 
your intentions have 
clearly cut scars along 
blue veins in her hands

your poems still sneak 
through the stillness, late 
into the evening, pages
of your handwriting beg
for love, or some relief

with your shirt pressed 
damp against her 
back, she will see you 
standing, waiting for 
joy to swallow, or cleanse time

© 7.26.2017 heather brager

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

the only thing to fear.

"Offer them what they secretly want and they of course immediately become panic-stricken." Jack Kerouac 

I once thought that I
would love every man
I ever loved,
carry his DNA in
my molecules, his words
would gently fold into
the recesses of my
grey matter, imprints of his
hands on my skin like
footprints abandoned in
dried clay, though
I did not account
for wild-eyed fear, that which
drew the lips back to
show his teeth, the
agony of injury that leached
rapidly from his every
pore, the echoes of
desertion rumbling through
vacant space between
our intentions

© 7.12.2017 heather brager

Zdzisław Beksiński.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

take a bow.

perhaps I should not admit how
many times I read the words you 
doled out like cookies 
to a family dog: 

here, sit while I neglect 
your adoration, stay while I repeat the 
patterns that have worn grooves 
in my brain, come to me, come
to me while I dangle affection like 
a delicacy you will never 
place in your hands, let alone between
your soft lips

and there is truth, whether it finds you 
sulking in a corner, or
hunts you down within the 
chapters of a book, because
truth finds us all, in the end

I will never be the monsters who 
abandoned you, I will never be the 
scornful wasp that stung when 
you were convinced that you were trying, 
and I will never be the loving 
woman who brings you coffee and a pastry 
while you sleep late on a Saturday morning,
no matter how hard I long to be 

this story is not really about you
these words are about my willingness to lie 
in the dirt and wait for permission 
to leave, the urgency I feel to restore 
beauty to broken things, the desire 
I use to weld pieces of cold metal together to 
construct a pair of loving arms 
that don’t push me away

Thursday, June 22, 2017

jagged little pills.

the wreckage has been surveyed
many times over, an itinerary carefully
deleted, line by resonant line
the dark ring inside yesterday’s porcelain
cup left on the kitchen
counter, diluted bourbon on
the bedside table next to the Ativan

when did we learn that love was
currency, attention meager
crumbs for starving
beasts, when did we misplace our
own fragile beauty with remnants
of shattered hope and reconstructed
dishes, following each tragedy

you divert your eyes but demand
to be seen, cry out but desire
solitude behind walls you built, but
they will not keep you safe from the
ghosts you have protected
within your rib cage, the terror that
runs you until shadows swallow hard

© 6.22.2017 heather brager

Rafael Duarte Más.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

windsor street.

as I stoop to pick up a 
tarnished penny, time collapses
I am a funeral’s pace, fingers slowly 
scraping the pavement,
hair falling forward in a 
fluid motion, gently
stroking the back of 
my freckled hand

from behind my eyes I 
am watching, blurred sparrows stealing 
crumbs from beside the curb, a bus stop
woman fanning herself with a 
crumpled magazine, I am
peering across the baked-hot parking lot at 
myself, an anonymous woman, lost 
and still losing, a little girl finding
a treasure among discarded
wrappers, next to an empty whiskey bottle

© 6.20.2017 heather brager