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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, June 8, 2018

the gift.

hours compose
a treaty in
poetry, and I find
myself wanting
your energy back
in my myth, in
the one we
press side by side
turning pages, the
perfume of cellulose
and lignin on
our fingertips,
tracing the faint
rise of what is
unwritten, the
careful overlap of
interludes, as we
close the covers

© 6.8.2018 heather brager

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

there are moments that time does not.

your blazing eyes at 10:43 p.m.
glancing across the kitchen table, and
her hair damp with southern
humidity and restrained hunger

your tears, Sunday morning drunk,
exposed until you fell asleep, her
hands removing loss like dust from a
tabletop; you have no idea what you lost

your mouth saying nothing, standing
at the corner of Summer and
Atlantic, on time for a southbound
train, but much too early for her comfort

your pallid cheek in lamplight, weary
with conclusions of the Yankee Inn, asleep
when you said you could not, faint scent
of lavender, and murmured invocations

© 6.6.2018 heather brager

Vladimir Fokanov.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

sorry, not sorry.

I have lost my shit in the grocery store
a damp list of items clutched in my right fist

blue ink bleeding onto my skin, grief
pushing my face to the floor with
1000 psi, next to a stack of beefsteak tomatoes

I have posed solitary and stiff-backed in the front
row, the hue of death melting around my face, feet

aching and cold from standing six hours in the
pumps that a dead man bought me as a birthday gift

I have cowered upright on a hard courtroom
bench, teeth clenched and heart held firmly

in the hands of a judge, the faces of my
two children projected clearly on the wall

I have lent the same heart to broken men, sewn
them back together with my own shaking fingers

delivered them a glass of bourbon, and stroked
their damp cheeks, while I laid down penance

for desiring a full basket of eggs, abandoned
home for just one more year, offered bowls

of sliced ginger, turmeric, garlic, and thyme
for the affection of an indifferent lover

I have drawn the beauty of a soul with a
solitary stick of graphite, to open my
abdomen for examination

for just one more fucking chance.

so don’t you dare demand
arbitrary time, or tell me
that I need to be patient.
don’t tell me how it
works to love, or explain
to me the writing
on the wall, when you
don’t even believe in
the same language.

© 5.30.2018 heather brager

(art: Erika Kuhn)

Monday, May 21, 2018

question everything.

the first night
she traced your 
silhouette for 
three days and nights
as you breathed out
her manifestation, white
light illuminating the outline
to remind of the spaces
in between true 
focus, following
your every move,
even in dreams
they lie side by side as
slices of impermanence 

the last night your 
eyes quickly flashed 
hot, and for one second 
she peered inside a 
dark space, after gifting a 
mirror of everything,
what was left of a beating
heart, vibrations 
through fingers splayed
wide open before you, and
yet, you did not yield 

you said nothing was tossed aside,
you told her to wait, and she heard 
stop, because she is too much, too 
sensitive, never quite enough  

for now press your hands 
against her flesh
hold tight to
lend a piece of 
yourself for safe keeping,
yes, just like that, 
pour, pour yourself 
into yet another soul, but
she is made of copper, humble 
goddess, prepared to
nourish and 
swallow the fated,
holding tenderness in 
oiled palms, but she is not
carrying the talisman you seek

 © 5.21.2018 heather brager

Patricia Ariel.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

are you listening?

there are forgotten stories
inscribed in words, symbols and
images scrawled across damp
walls, under decaying floors, a
history buried far beneath the
earth, steadily uncovered
in rhythmic codes revealing
time and future, queens and
their kings, records woven in
intervals boldly above their crowns

and where have you been hiding?

your mother, the goddess, ancestral 
force, father sky and his cavernous
soul, strong hands shading a gaze
across the fields, cold dark
water rumbling, backs
straight, then broken and bent
over torment, again and 
again, abandoned

they are yours
they are ours, the 
agonizing beauty, now an 
antiphony pulses in your 
very breath, celebration twined
to your cell memories, a living
history writhing within
your skin
your eyes
your own voice

there is primordial hope hovering 
over the seas in echoes of oars
and copper mettle, above the
bird songs, beyond the
lands that steal and
petrify courage, there is
harmony and cadence, lying in
wait in your open palms, throbbing 
in your feet, grasping at your
heart, pleading to escape
its prison from behind your 
teeth and tongue

 © 5.15.2018 heather brager

(Ben Hodson)

Thursday, May 3, 2018


I may not understand why you closed the door quietly behind you that night, hesitating over your shoulder for just a second. I somehow hoped I was enough, but always knew better.

I speculated for weeks, looking for you at stoplights, drawing your beautiful shoulders and arms behind my eyelids, feeling lost for words, knowing I really did ask you to leave with my eyes.

Perhaps there were too many women without boundaries, too many women who worshiped your body, too many women who were afraid to challenge your lack of commitment, too many women who knew there was a revolving door. Too many women who didn’t have demands like I did.

I saw you this morning driving west on Broadway, your skin glowing in the sunlight against the white. I watched your lips as you looked right through me, and I smiled at the young girl staring at me as I passed, your arm across her shoulders.

© 5.3.2018 heather brager

Saturday, April 7, 2018

magic and lipstick.

she finds herself 
again, seared open, 
tender enchantment  
standing solitary 
in the corner 
she finds her 
skin is still soft
hair still falls carefully 
over shoulders and 
arms angled 
gentle like hooks 
for capture, 
weapons to love
with burning 
that can only 
disqualify her

she finds herself 
again and again
hands empty, blue 
wide open, putting 
lipstick back on, and
that bra, those boots,
the mask that will be 
thrown aside next 
week, or next year
again, uncovered 

and she feels 
the magic before 
it enters the room, 
after it has faded 
away, again and again
disbelief turned to
emptiness, possibility 
left smoldering
then gone tepid,
the lost and the
found, and lost again

© 4.7.2018 heather brager