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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. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


the devil came in
hovering in empty spaces
watching and waiting

Monday, April 25, 2011


the turning point is ahead
but maybe we passed it going 80 mph
on a stretch of empty interstate
with the wind’s whistling chill
somewhere in rural Indiana

we hold on with white knuckles
life clutches us by the throat
pins us down in abandoned corners
forces us to beg for clemency
but we don’t know how to pray

it isn’t the picture we drew
house on the hill in red twilight autumn
we carefully hang our pressed clothes
in the back of the closet
losing hope of resurrection

© 2011 heather brager


I have lost
my voice again
as hours escape
into binders filled
with wrinkled paper

these cold fingers
clicking messages
terminology, language, clich├ęs

empty justifications

that cannot appease
the vacant judgments

so we start here
and end here
and somewhere in isolation
are the right words

© 2011 heather brager

Thursday, April 21, 2011


she must have been
his sinister mistress
assassinated by the hired man
or maybe the dignified wife
of an affluent baron
who hired him to do the deed

she must have been
the despised imperial queen
of rich lands far and wide
who beheaded droves of harmless innocents
for her malicious viewing pleasure

she must have been the dictator
with no mercy for his fellow human
or his murderous vixen devotee
who poisoned opposition for sport
behind bolted stronghold doors

© 4.21.11 heather brager

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I wash my hands three times
wondering if they're clean
and pause twice,
smelling the soap

I ask myself if I washed them

I look out the back window
at mallard ducks in a pair

the male struts in his green iridescence

and I wonder
if their gender issues
affect their young this way

I forget

the conference this morning
turn right on red
leave the garage door wide open
my purse in the car

and my coffee is still
on the kitchen counter

I read somewhere once
that mallard ducks
mate for life

© 4.20.11 heather brager

Monday, April 18, 2011

another life in massachusetts.

there are swaying boats
at the cliff lines
light, diminishing ripe and muted
breeze, salty with slow heat
echoes across the steady,
yawning swells

you may have brushed my hair
away from my damp skin
deep in an early morning dream
pressed against my back in our
egyptian cotton sheets

© april 2011 heather brager

Friday, April 15, 2011

love in a time of renewal.

there is no air left
we are outside of ourselves
but we will return

© 4.15.11 heather brager

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


the moon is staring at me
through the window
these dry walls and floor
have become my skin and bones
while I pray tenderness
can save me

we breathed a quiet life
into each empty carcass
while blind, blackened moments
hung us to die
with the skeletons in your closet

now it's 2:47 a.m. with howling wind
and you have abandoned

the white house on the hill

my art on the front lawn

the dead man at the side of the road

I am just the boat in your dream
and there is no saving you.

© 4.13.11 heather brager

Thursday, April 7, 2011

senryu rant.

more paper than words
technicalities aside
the phone would suffice

© 4.7.11 heather brager

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

often, wishes.

the daylight lengthened
just before they passed by
walking shadows
stretching further
than they ever touched

sometimes they crafted perfect scenarios

the magnificent wealth
of stationary time

the rich smells of wood smoke
and dinner simmering

the twinkling house
on a maple covered hill

moments departed
and finally returned
creeping silently
through a damp darkness
before the sun came home

and they sipped
the morning coffee
recounting wishes
with clouds hanging low
and sweetness in the dew

© 4.6.11 heather brager

Monday, April 4, 2011


when I was twelve or thirteen years old
I had a savings account
dollars pocketed watching neighbor’s kids

there were the two who locked me in their bedroom
and ate an entire box of jell-o pudding pops
while I climbed out of the window
to pound on the door across the alley

I bought new guess? jeans with the cash
saving all summer just so I could fit in
be one of the admired girls in school
they had football player boyfriends
and wore lipgloss and their mom’s mascara

but I drew pictures with pencils
and scribbled in a notebook
read catcher in the rye
and wore my dad’s army fatigue jacket
with hand-me-down running shoes

once I was cornered in the hallway
against the orange painted lockers
she was a full head taller
wore a pissed off grimace
and glittering blue eyeshadow

she vowed to kick my ass
and told everyone I called her names
while I looked her in the eye
and the truth is I tried to turn away
but somehow I couldn’t

I still don’t know why
she thought I was one of the popular girls

© 4.4.11 heather brager

Friday, April 1, 2011

where there's a will.

I sometimes hear voices reminding me to pay attention
touching my hair somewhere behind my right ear
more evidence that I might be unbalanced and fanatical

I stuff artificially lucky trinkets deep into my pockets
measuring with an imaginary ruler
hoping I don’t lose them somewhere through the holes

I rub dirty coins between my thumb and middle finger
tasting mint chapstick
and squint at the intrusive sunlight that burns
through my chipped windshield

I might be too far left of center
or too lost to find my way home
so I count the seconds between stoplights in Spanish
visualizing telephone poles balancing end to end
as they scrape the eastern nimbus clouds

© 4.1.11 heather brager