Vivian Wagner


My son’s in Taiwan,
speaking Chinese
on the dark side of the earth,
twelve hours into the future.
Here, a faint morning breeze
blows hemlock needles.
Here, the sun’s fire is
blocked by a blanket of clouds.
Here, a creek whispers
quietly to itself in the woods.
I know nothing of the air
or light of that distant island,
have only the dimmest
understanding of the rise
of its mountains,
can only imagine the
mysterious tongues of
its waves and rivers.
Still, though, the planet turns.
Still, one species of crow
or another caws toward dawn.
Still, morning.
Still, night.



The cry of the cicada
Gives us no sign
That presently it will die.

This morning, early August,
the cicadas speak of eternity,
knowing they’re lying.
The sun whispers sweet nothings
about forever, snickering into its hand.
The grass keeps growing,
keeping, too, a raft of secrets
about the sweet, slow decay of soil.
The bamboo chimes clink to the future
at a funeral they arranged.
The wind acts as if it will never stop.
And the dog curls on his blanket,
dreaming about tomorrow,
with its guaranteed morning,
its bright, endless sky, and its
wondrously blurred infinity of rabbits.

Vivian Wagner is an associate professor of English at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio. She’s the author of a memoir, Fiddle: One Woman, Four Strings, and 8,000 Miles of Music (Citadel-Kensington), and a poetry collection, The Village (Kelsay Books).


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