My photo

"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. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

give me two minutes.


what if I am
just running in place
still circling back to our own
familiar and situational tragedy
back to late summer into the fall
the way I let your eyes pin me down
the way your coy hesitation
is still sneaking through my door
back to being drunken on
this spell that ignites
between us as you nervously
remove your jacket, back to you
yielding and shy and tender
while you proceed to grip
my jeans and peel off my clothes
back to me feeling helpless
and you cannot possibly love her
back to I know why you are here
and you are in denial
the way you are circling
like a beautiful wolf, or a
moth to a porch light
back to stop lying to yourself
and what if it is you
back to who deserves this magic
and this is the truth,
not what you go back to



© 12.12.16 heather brager


Thursday, December 1, 2016

little white lies.









while we lie awake, nursing
our intrinsic fabrications
each association fragile, subjective

this liquid want with teeth
and confusion with soft skin
just speak the truth, confront

the fear chasing you down
wait patiently for the explanation 
you have already accepted lie, upon lie

then your beautiful face, your arms in total
darkness, indistinguishable from hope,
she can see clearly through

the air that quietly cradles deceit
the soundtrack steadily building,
waiting for the next projection

with vulnerability processed as data
a blatant delusion, of passion becoming
enough, or even something like truth



© 12.1.16 heather brager



Saturday, November 19, 2016

you may never know.



she carries crooked years
tucked neatly in both pockets

hands full of hard lessons
trailing behind like crumbs

she is not lost and
does not beg to be found

she will feed you and quietly
watch you sleep on her pillow

with splinters and hope
she will be gone by dawn


© 11.19.16 heather brager

Monday, November 14, 2016

things I don't say.



whether or not
you comprehend, I can
see through the beautiful
skin stretched
across your chest
to the cells colliding
behind your rib cage.
you think you
control your heart
the direction that
blood flows, the valves
and complex mechanisms
that make you stand
here in my kitchen
wondering what it
is that you want
my fingers long
to slide behind your
ribs and wrap
themselves around
feel the gentle pulse
to solve all of the
mysteries of
this moment
but don't worry, I will leave
it there because it
doesn't belong to me.

© 11.15.16 heather brager

Friday, November 11, 2016

everything you pretend to be.

why would he hesitate
her flesh beneath
the quiet beauty 

a quivering projection 
from somewhere overhead
without a forest floor

emptiness left downwind
skeletons reduced 
to pieces in a puzzle

his face turned south 
abandoned structures 
neglected grass calling  

shadows of canis lupus
her coat pale in moonlight
protecting his throat





© 11.11.16 heather brager

Thursday, October 27, 2016

color.

now she may not be convinced that
you sense or observe the world
with the same spectrum of longing
though she willingly would
have taught you to breathe in aqua
and weave cerulean blue to the
rhythm of the salt lamp and vinyl
stroking the brilliantly acute contrast of
your skin deeper than marrow

she may have even come
undone and drifted a scarlet
bird over rippling water the
leaves fluttering close to autumn
though she was not persuaded that
you understood her language or
could grasp burning alchemy with
your soul tangled in the mires
of acceptable mediocrity

now she may know stories that you
never hear and see the complex
unraveling tied to choices that
have not yet come to be
though it will never truly matter if
the strands of her hair slipped softly
though your fingers and
the forgotten cerise mandala
never made its way into your pocket



© 10.27.2016 heather brager


Thursday, October 20, 2016

siren.



I wish I knew that song
the one she played you like a fool
fabricated irresistible notes and bent
time in a gravity defying arc
that speaks words I have not learned

I can only offer my hands
knowledge I have gathered to my chest
an armful of autumn wheat
gentleness I have left
like pebbles to the trail home

so keep the pieces you have saved
the bucket of curved shells and 
lifeless flowers slumped dry
now that the water has evaporated
while I send another song



© 10.20.2016 heather brager

Thursday, October 6, 2016

no.

was it home at last
or another version of
my wandering soul

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

give it up (because...simpatico)



three times she left the house
hand prints ultraviolet, smudges
on the face of a ticking clock
following the blue line back, because
everything beautiful is broken

how quickly she forgot that
the music was not for her
his soft pulses of confusion
now misery personified, but
the walls will remember,
and watch him from now on 

"don't give your magic to the undeserving"

his words murmuring a loop 
past the graveyard in her chest
and out through empty hands, the
quiet remains of her spread 
delicately across his comforter 

she is simply not enough, but 
that dark pond was a mirror  
reflecting her light more
than just once, failure
oh failure, follow the thin blue line


© 10.5.2016 heather brager


Friday, September 30, 2016

inhale.

I am patient like
a sledgehammer swinging back
down to meet your skin

Thursday, September 29, 2016

sometimes there is a doorway (or... everything is an equation, and she still sucks at math)

you signed up for this elective
though now antithetical
you cannot walk away
for there are annotations
inscribed from inside your skull
you have twisted to turn
your body inside out
chosen some beauty other
than a shallow figment
which is certainly not a composition
of the wayward, or provisional
be careful what you wish for
echoes from inside your chest

*

and her spell is on your hands
imprints of formulaic patterns
on your chest and back
fragments of an ancient system flowing
down your limbs, and your variables
scattered within her hair
of course it would be simple
if she had not written this equation
and you had not been divisible by two
though alchemy cannot be properly defined
and wisdom is the outlier


© 9.29.2016 heather brager

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

desire is more powerful than dependence.



the road does not end
a hemorrhaging pause held in
hesitation, over your shoulder
stolen time is arresting the broken
and the apparition just swallowed
every unspoken word


© 9.27.2016 heather brager


Saturday, September 24, 2016

slate.

we are of the same delicate
and brazen soul
hatched on this plane, assigned 
to wander the landscape as
silhouettes before dawn 
longing for more

we are lost and asked 
to be found 
and you smell like perfect
harmony, the chords 
you hum bind me to your bed
return me to that 
Monday, every day

I still cannot bring myself 
to wash my clothes 
I can see you clearly
pleading to be 
healed, begging to be 
heard, though shaman 
to shaman, you must
know already the rituals
and stereotypes we 
supplant, yet

I am still on the other side  
it is not by chance, or 
happenstance that we stood
hovering above time a 
soundtrack already chosen
if you would just open 
your hands to let me in 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

symbiosis.


we both knew I wasn’t enough
but how do you tell the dog to stop barking
the past to stop sneaking around the corner
studying us through the open door
how do you toss the key out the window
and leave that beauty standing alone
while you drive out past the pond
your windows down, half of a moon
reflecting in the dark glass
how do you leave with longing
screaming in your head
knowing the clock is a filthy liar
how do you not comprehend
that merciful gift
that arrived on your back doorstep
disguising itself as something tender
how do you pass time with ideal comfort
and still abandon all of your reason




© 9.22.2016 heather brager

Monday, September 19, 2016

pessimism in the morning.

if I knew where this was going
we’d most likely
be well on our way
banking certainties, and documenting
our movements in poetry,
but I let you
fold me up in your back pocket
crushed, and often
retstrained underneath the weight
unable to effectively breathe
until you start moving again

if I didn’t have
all of these unnecessary and
silly expectations
no one would ever disappoint me
we’d just be swimming
in synchronistic formations,
humming murmurations on the wind
never quite colliding
maybe we would be choosing 
coordinating patterns
for serving dishes and flatware,
and naming the family pet




© 9.19.2016 heather brager

Friday, September 16, 2016

9.16.16

the wolf, or the girl
the moon is pulling my hair
dusk, an enigma


© 9.16.2016 heather brager

Thursday, September 15, 2016

the point is.

memory
heaves an echo
through a vacant ravine

years of compounded intellect
the aching wounds that you could not heal

moments she climbed inside through your eyes
flashes of sanity that paralyzed your progress

and you digress and exhale
weary for medicine
and softness



© 9.15.2016 heather brager

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

so we meet again.



they are wont for regret
each futile entry, a
notch for ignition,
each commencement
ditched, the fatal twist
anywhere, the neck
the back, or the gut
cafuné or bust, just
turn to black, blue, or
synchronistic nihilism



 © 9.14.2016 heather brager

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

happiness, or insanity




when failing hopelessly meant nothing
trudging back again through
death and the human condition
you had no option but to ascend
from dust, brushing away the
remnants of the aftermath
bending and leaning into the wind
amending your purpose, line after line
with an inkless ball point pen
your wavering words, invisible signatures

when intricate eyes pounced on your
every word, feeling you up and down
before swallowing your solitude
teeth on your neck, and breath on your belly
you had no option but to ascend
beyond despair, rubbing in the  
remnants of velvety coincidence
handing over your key, dismissing
pain and circumstance
with a hesitant lexis, cosmically aligned



© 9.7.2016 heather brager


Monday, August 29, 2016

worthwhile.




she is a concept
laundry hanging out to dry
the sun will rise soon

she’s an idea
always awake before dawn
watching the black bird

she will bend the rules
forgive you before you stop

a bird in the hand



© 8.29.2016 heather brager


Sunday, August 28, 2016

just another fairytale.



you are familiar with the
backdrop of inky woods
a place you have knelt before
redemption on your palms
branches bent under the 
weight of knowing a
path urgently erased into
the darkness by 
an unseen hand

over your shoulder the
wolves are coming
their cries of battle
and savage hunger
you already know
fear is what they smell
and she needed you once
to be her guide
and her protector
the journey that trailed off 
beyond your line of sight

and now you turn to watch 
an unwavering and 
wanton creature
standing alone  
with her back straight 
a face asking for love
from the sinking sun
hands reaching out
ready to join the pack

© 8.28.2016 heather brager

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tuesday morning.

late at 8:42 a.m., past neon construction workers watching my dress
someone shouts over the jackhammer, all I hear is “baby” but I ignore them
smiling at my phone because you sent another adorable text
shortcut through the projects, my forgotten purse on the kitchen counter
naked and abandoned baby doll smudged with grime
the child probably lost sleep and there she lies, alone by the dumpster
past the men smoking cigarettes while speaking french creole
I begin to walk into the street and glance up at the line of pigeons
there’s a slight chance they will shit on me just as I pass
so I hustle past the edge of the building, tipping my sunglasses onto my head
past the boys in the entry way who pretend that I’m not there
all staring at their smart phones, into the building, then the mollifying
good morning, good morning, how are you today, m’am
fine, thank you, and you, and sometimes I’d prefer to be fucking invisible


© 8.23.2016 heather brager

murmuration.

you dream of waking
bodies of undefined centuries
juxtaposed wreckage and
collocated promises 
in broken softness
in your mouths,
poetry bending grief and hope
spellbound and shattered,
language pulling your weight
down to her, the composition
of birds in flight


© 8.20.2016 heather brager

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

deciduous.

have I fallen
for you like
a dead oak
moss and
stillness about
my limbs
blanketed dew
pressing my bark
a pithy core
bittered by age
or sweetened
by ripening





© 8.17.2016 heather brager

Thursday, August 4, 2016

this august.

9:47 p.m.

she overlooked the late arrival
listened to the couple, droning mindlessly
at an adjacent table
fingerprints in the condensation
on her cocktail glass
high heels, legs, hope and stained lips

were they coming, or going
the subtle suggestion, shrugged off to be
hung by potential regret
a few more sips and laughter, this is nice
politics, hands, lips, her hips
soaked and groping for air

the unmistakable gentleness
reading minds and surveying
intently for clues in a
puzzle, a homecoming, a stretch
far beyond something mediocre
a beginning, or a conclusion

2:18 a.m.


© 8.4.2016 heather brager



Wednesday, July 27, 2016

by design.

they may have 
passed in the night
dreams, or nightmares
juxtaposed, oxygen
and carbon dioxide
swirling around their parted lips

he prefers to fly
under the radar
failing to understand that she
can see his beacon, and
feelings are loudest
spoken across space and time

they could create talismans
living poetry, growing out of
the summer sidewalk
she breathes into living things
his shadow is chasing, hungry fear
but she is starving


© 7.27.2016 heather brager

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

afternoon.

why should I even explain
how light crept
effortlessly through the
curtains, your unsettled breath
and sleeping limbs
hiding in plain sight
a beautiful and
unsolved enigma
held hostage in a vacuum




© 7.19.2016 heather brager

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

a truth, in poem format.


finger the distorted balance of
carefully breathing the same air
afraid to open the door, but
sitting close, with scars left
on your hearts and your arms by
years of unraveling, the pain of
re-stitching love back together
the night fire was drawn out of you
in thunderous blindness, a fierce dragon
with a propensity for resistance
when glass shattered, and once safe rooms
ignited with the blaze, in a
chapter that she has already read
she already knows where you have been
why you fuck in a hurry
and wait for a rabid breaking point,
but each justifiable choice
is a delicate line of poetry
a lyric that replays in your head
each compulsive mistake, the beautiful poison
that you both drank,
and lived to accept

© 7.13.2016 heather brager

Friday, July 8, 2016

shrive.

ask again what you were thinking 
the answers lie just beneath the skin,
waiting for permission

pause to consider the breeze 
beyond the windows,
twilight stretching and lying down 
across the living room rug 

as a witness to simplicity
leave your weapons outside the door
place your hands softly 

beneath the surface, before dawn 
beckon everything that was 
ever taken from you 
until the walls ache toward the sun


© 7.8.2016 heather brager

Sunday, June 19, 2016

begin.



if I begin writing
poems for you, in the
endless string of moments
lurking in between,
while I stealthily
manipulate pessimism
while I attempt to pacify
the resuscitation of a
recovering and
abandoned, but ever
hopeful seer
in the moments we will
inevitably collide, two
worlds pressing closer than skin
if I am willing to say to you
what you are, instead
of what you are not.
when I begin writing
poems for you, will
you let the phrases
speak on my behalf,
pulling my face closer
by my hair, and taste the words
in my open mouth

© 6.19.2016 heather brager

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

sunday return.


you walked with him
to the street, another wet,
grey morning, and
his arms detained carefully, with
sparse words matted together
before the taxi arrived
for a blurry parting, nothing
like you fabricated.
the driver’s broken english, while
stroking a rosary, which swung from
the rearview mirror where
he snuck glances through you, and
you misheard him say
“he’s not the one” as you
latched your seatbelt
watching for signs along the way
arriving far too early, as
you usually do.


© 6.7.2016 heather brager

Saturday, June 4, 2016

too much



please don't mistake our 
passion for need 

we've become the fathers 
who walked away

and the husbands 
we dreamed of marrying 

don't mistake our 
tenderness for weakness,

or our certainty 
for desperation 

if properly tended, our fire 
will awaken the dead



© 6.5.2016 heather brager 

Friday, June 3, 2016

augury.



there may come a day when loss
transforms into a field of swaying lavender
her backdrop a storm far out at sea
bravery bending down at the helm
pressing soaked against the wind
accepting forgiveness from the moon

pain is comprised of memories
the language of flowers decaying in a vase
dropping petals on the kitchen counter
cotton sheets and a softly bent arm
reaching for you to the patterns of
rain outside of the opened window

love is woven through everything
the skin on his cheek where
your finger traced while he slept
the intersection where you stood
when you realized you were hopelessly lost
the moment you could again



© 6.4.2016 heather brager


Thursday, June 2, 2016

the common denominator.



when her eyes caught your gaze
on another rapid decline

you suspected the night would
likely not revert to stillness

in truth, latent thoughts would
seldom unfold that way again

*

her hips and their words
would grasp at your heart

with smoldering fingers
she would borrow your watch

from inside of the sea
and pending another departure

*

despite the slack obedience
to cyclical verdicts

she would jump through
revolving doors with a stranger

brandishing a propensity
for fastening universes together




© 6.2.2016 heather brager