Archive for the Maryfrances Wagner Category

Three Poems by Maryfrances Wagner

Posted in Maryfrances Wagner on November 15, 2019 by Scot

High School Lunch Hour

Girls, heavy-breasted in halters,
hide behind the stadium ticket booth
with tank-topped boyfriends,
cup the hotboxed glow
of fat humped joints,
watch for the principal.

They favor talk of burrito supremes
and ways to skip sixth hour
over the Type A macaroni and cheese lunch.

They point to a jerseyed arm
flying a yellow box kite
from a third-floor window.
They know the tight pull
of a good kite string
before it’s suddenly gone.


About Missouri Clay

Wanted to ride
the meanest Hell’s Angel bike
gripping the belt loops
of a man who could
drink turpentine for breakfast.

Wanted to steal
my brother’s Tropic of Cancer,
hitchhike up Highway One,
hang ten at Hunnington Beach.

Wanted to be
a Mick Jagger groupie,
hang out backstage,
hump so long even
Mick wouldn’t leave.

But I followed wooded trails,
wrapped my legs around Missouri clay,
kept busy
saving it.




Someone has left open
a mailbox fronted
with barbed wire
twisted into a nest.
Six vellum notes lay
stacked and stamped.
A spider’s web,
woven across the wire
like a torn door screen,
has captured a fly, a moth,
and a hornet still thrashing.
Who will reach in there?

I didn’t cry when I watched
my father sew together
where barbed wire
tore open my dog’s throat.

Atop the mailbox,
a starling eyes me
and tilts his head.
The air steals breath.
Gum trees toss spiky balls.
Last year, they caused
my dog and me to fall twice.
Worry, no more certain
than a torn sack hanging
from a bush, cannot save us.

Auld Lange Syne’s End of Set by Maryfrances Wagner

Posted in Maryfrances Wagner with tags on February 5, 2012 by Scot

That last shot of tequila induces
head spins in the parking lot, makes us
wish for Tuesday or take backs.

We wake to the unfamiliar, learn the art
of exit, face the red-eye drive past car
wrecks, cross icy bridges of thought.

Last words spurt forth, microbursts
ugly as cold sores, cause for signing
papers, clearing out drawers.

In twenty years, they’ll roll their eyes
when we knit, wonder if winter’s,
darkness exhaled us whole.

We wave sparklers on the home lawn,
let the New Year slide in early with
stories we trade like sports cards,

stories we can choose,
more butter each year,
smooth and full in the mouth.

We lift the wine toast reminder,
that hint of black cherry,
that crisp structured finish.

Aunt Mary Postulates One Sunday at the Nursing Home by Maryfrances Wagner

Posted in Maryfrances Wagner with tags on January 22, 2012 by Scot

“You look like your mother today,” she says,
eyebrows arched.  “You’ve cut your hair.
It’s nice enough, but you need poof on top.
We don’t have faces for flat dos.  See how
Jimmy combed my hair.  I’ve got poof.
And I’m wearing Elizabeth Taylor’s cocktail ring.
Jimmy bought it for me on late night TV.
Jewelry of the Stars.  I’m getting Ava Gabor’s
brooch next.  Boy, she had a lot of affairs,
but she had great jewelry.  Speaking of affairs,
Marie Coleman was having one, three doors
down from us, and nobody knew.  I don’t get it.
People could have affairs in here at night.
No one ever comes around to check on us.
We could stop breathing and no one would know.
Necrophiles could neck in here all night long.
Never saw any reason for affairs.  Just a bunch of sex.
The jewelry they get would be nice, but boy, is sex
overrated.  Just a bunch of fiddling around in the dark.
What’s the big deal?  I’d rather go dancing, wear
a mink coat, yeah, white ermine, and diamonds.”