Jasmine Dreame Wagner
Winner of the 2012 Ahsahta Press Chapbook Contest
“Rewilding re-imagines the world with verve and originality. I was blown away by the scope, ambition, and what Wagner did with the abecedarian form, which is reminiscent of Inger Christensen’s work.” —Cathy Park Hong, judge of the 2012 Ahsahta Press Chapbook Contest
from "Favor is an arbitrary seed."
flowers: true or
Feral hackgrass. Bitchweed. Black-Eyed Susans.
Fecalvine. Chafeblossom. Rapeseed and phlox.)
Some flowers make us feel like our
fingernail’s been scraped by a paperclip
and some flowers make us feel
and the fact is: we
fall for the names of flowers the way we
fall for the names of chains of superspeedways: Daytona, Pocono, Talladega . . .
and the fact is: we snip at the base of a potted plant and pluck
a flower from its ring
and the fact is: though our intentions are good, we warm a plate in the microwave
and forget the fork
as flashes of aluminum filaments
flare along the fire-resistant lining. This isn’t about
flight emulation or parasympathetic physical reaction, this isn’t about
fists-fights or factory farms, it isn’t
fasting for social change or feasting in celebration of it. The fact is, fear
is the foundation of what we find here, where we
fast-forward to the tire blowout, where we,
from our frosting to our fat-free filling,
from the fins of sharks preserved in formaldehyde
to the fragments of feeling that race from feed to feed,
from a distance are evergreens repeatable as memes. Remember?
For centuries, war was a rumor. There was
fortune, but there wasn’t fame. In fact, there wasn’t much
to fear until the dust clouds fomented. Few could see the trees
for the fringe, the forest for its foreign language. It’s true,
form eventually followed function. But how could we
forget the unformulated ripening of the pear, the thrill of play, the fractal pip of
our fingertip? From the red-lipped rose
flush with alliteration to the maximalism (and lack) of what is
found there, ambiguous loss is unfinished business.
And as a fad that fell from fashion
rebounds for a final round, we cut and rearrange our blooms
to forge the feeling we once found
in familiarity: forsythia forked; the twins down the street, pickled into men;
the false-bottom box of finality. Now, if only our austerity
fetish could afford to lend us a frame
from the film we’re sure will surface
after we’ve finished
A graduate of Columbia University and the University of Montana, Jasmine Dreame Wagner has received grants and residencies from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Hall Farm Center for Arts & Education, Kultuuritehas Polymer, and The Wassaic Project. She is the author of two chapbooks: Listening for Earthquakes (Caketrain Journal and Press) and Charcoal (For Arbors). Her poems and prose have appeared in American Letters & Commentary, Aufgabe, Colorado Review, Indiana Review, New American Writing, Seattle Review, Verse, The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral (Ahsahta Press) and Lost and Found: Stories from New York (Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood Books, distributed by W.W. Norton.) Jasmine lives between New York City and Connecticut, where she teaches creative writing at Western Connecticut State University. You can learn more about her art, music, and writing on her website, www.songsaboutghosts.com.