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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. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

acceptance is a blank page.

the loose ends you leave behind and
how you disappear show the ones
who love you everything they will ever need to know

the first stage of grief leaves you standing in the grocery store a
forgotten child, the face of loneliness wielding a knife
next to local produce and a bent woman
who shouts “dear, are you okay” as you crumple to your knees
staring blankly at the empty space

you relive the fear in your stories as a reminder that you can,
to justify what your clever mind will not permit you to release

terror follows you across the parking lot to your car
anger clings like a wet dress tripping you up
exposing the truth, spinning the truth
helpless as a spider circling in a bathroom drain

loss is drowning at the bottom of a bottle
re-reading words written by the perfect lover
who never could have existed, but in your mind

pain is a silhouette with his back to the
wind, looking over dark water in a soundless loop
though you are not permitted to see his face
because he is always turning away

the fifth stage of grief slides over you silently as
morning splays across the cat at the foot of the bed, sliding
up the wall and over dust that covers a smiling face in graphite
maybe you remember being content then,
but those eyes are no longer yours

© 4.25.2017 heather brager

Thursday, April 20, 2017

the ocean starts at the shoreline.

this is you, you seek solace in raw demise
you accost by adjective and verb
burying it under allegations
of beasts for slaughter, fish gasping at the shore
discarded and digging in the dirt for forty
some years for the source
detonation at the helm
wanting, lurking, mining for the simple hope 
to catch a fish

this is you, but hope emerged carrying freshly cut flowers,
sweets, poetry and your blame like ancient talismans
vibrant as butterflies on the cover
pleading to carry you out of the picture,
if only you would release the dead weight
but why fly, when you could sink or swim

this is still you, inside of twenty years or more
bowing to a shrine of solitude that grips and holds
you back from beauty so exquisite
it would kill you the moment you heard the song, a song
vibrating from its tender soul

but who are you, really?
are you hidden within the heart she sent
one of two birds, not beautiful enough to soften
hatred so sharp your hands were crimson
before you even attempted to touch her skin,

because artists love contrast, though
you never pressed your lips to the water stain
in a promise, before you commenced digging

this is you, but fear was not your fault
and hope is a solemn beast for
you are the fisherman, and the fish
casting, gutting, drown by air
and now it is all you have, crimson
abandoned at the shoreline
everything at once, then nothing at all

© 4.20.2017 heather brager

Hans Kanters.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


she opened
her eyes as
the shoreline gasped
outward beneath
her naked feet

frigid pools
swallowed hard as
she stood alone
hunting past
the sight line

a lone gull wailed 
and wind stung
as she stood 
down an airless 

© 4.18.2017 heather brager

Saturday, April 15, 2017


when it has been a hard year, indelible
patterns wear down the floorboards
daylight presses an imprint against
the film on neglected window panes
limbs remain where limbs must lie in
wilted angles, measured in sepia
when alone is a place to dwell, bitter as a
worn chair in the middle of the room
tolerantly pending the comrade of
umber, who bears a smooth glass of medicine
perhaps time has unveiled a hushed
melody of imminent contentment, watchfully 
tending to deserted spaces with conciliation
leading all of the voices in conversation
until the heart skips dissonance

© 4.15.2017 heather brager

The empty chair.....:

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

shadows of ourselves.

there was meant to be a moment when
you looked back at the wreckage and the
motion of our lives slowed to a crawl, and paused

a carnal beast could be seen climbing, a steady
silhouette from beneath the still life you drew,
with its frozen cast of characters in waiting

you the protagonist, you lying next to the
emotional in our bed, you walking across the floor
to our living room, you writing our story

and you wished to leave the newly
constructed frames, succumbing to whispers
of cruelty and odium, imagined from the depths

there will be regret, but it should not be ours
when time is released from the grasp of
bruised hearts, your character will always turn away

© 4.5.2017 heather brager

Sunday, April 2, 2017

in line at the post office.

and here I wait, again
dangling left and lost
imagining intentions somehow aligned
our last error in a string of
unfathomable events compressed
into weeks, dragging us by our limbs
through shadows of time
with our swords at the ready

could we ever resolve ourselves
after the wake of destruction
and remnants of death
could we navigate the maps, and
how could you ever choose
me over twisted synonyms
and the existential loneliness
you covet like fine liquor

but you, an illuminated entrance
pulling me into the hope of
your soft palms, seraphic
lines sliding off of your sharp
tongue, pressed firmly against my neck
slipping beneath my breasts
as much the wind as a wolf,
though it was she who
pushed you back as I threw open
all of the doors, removed my clothes
and for a moment,
obliterated your armor

© 4.2.2017 heather brager

(Art, Lauren Marx)