OverYou are now like the creek
funneling behind the path I walk.
I remember days I dumped
your cans, scrubbed rings
from tables, the drift of flat beer
trailing me to the kitchen
like your breath before your
glazed eyes settled into red holes
in dim light, your silhouette
hunched like the dying elm
outside, reaching out beneath
the moon. As you stared off,
with one hand you tapped
your fingertips, and with the other
you dragged your sock across
your ankle over and over.
Becoming One of the Invisible
At first, I spoke up. Hey, I’m standing
right here. See me waving? Then I realized
this was like hiding. We can sail down aisles,
slip between cars, and no one stops us.
We can stare like our mothers said not to do,
shake our booty, float off like maple seeds.
We’re the empty seat in the audience,
alone in the crowd watching sky. We raise
unanswered arms clunky with bracelets. The last
donut or slice of pizza never gets passed to us.
With my date last Saturday, I watched
how his fingers floated in the air when he talked,
in between steak bites, wine sips, the type
who could scuba through schools of parrotfish
instead of trying to catch anything, the kind
not needing anyone there since underwater,
the sea is mostly silent. As I started to tell him
how I floated unseen across parking lots, through
flashing minnows and dodged barracudas
sulking by, I saw his eyes sink into dilated marbles.
Behind his nod, the fixed smirk. That’s okay.
I’m thinking of my next disappearance. I won’t need
darkness or a mask. I won’t have to make excuses.
Even a rock in a shoe serves its purpose.
Maryfrances Wagner’s newest books are The Silence of Red Glass, The Immigrants’ New Camera, and Solving for X. Her newly reissued book Red Silk won the Thorpe Menn Book Award. She co-edits I-70 Review, serves on The Writers Place board, was 2020 Missouri Individual Artist of the Year, and is Missouri Poet Laureate 2021-2023. Poems have appeared in New Letters, Midwest Quarterly, Laurel Review, American Journal of Poetry, Poetry East, Green Mountain Literary Review, Voices in Italian Americana, Main Street Rag, Rattle, Unsettling America: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry, et. al. For more information, check her website: http://maryfranceswagnerwriter.fieldinfoserv.com/