Deborah Ager

Three Poems

Nine Women Poets
Volume 16:4, Fall 2015



What does blood do when
it’s not doing? Red velvet rope,
a pulse in a tangle of veins.

Doctors find nothing until
they find something missing,
confused soldiers run away.

Whatever it lacks, I will love it,
my enemy and soldier both.
These pinpricks are red as valentines.
These pills are little moons.



Kathy Karlson, "Bombay Hook," acrylic on canvas, 2015.

Kathy Karlson, “Bombay Hook,” acrylic on canvas, 2015.

All Day, I’d Practiced Choir Songs

Blessed Be Your Grace, Our God.
My father drove me to rehearsal
That night. No one else arrived.
He’d left already. Snow hit snow
And crunched. I wandered—storm, church.
The door—unlocked in case a person
Needed God. The halls—empty.
Outside again, I crossed the walk
Where I’d once carried my brother’s coffin.
A man approached. Lost? he asked.
We stood ankle-deep in snow.
Yes. I said my name to the dark
Around his figure. Snowflakes wove
through branches. I knew your brother.
He was younger than I’d thought.
I nodded, following him across
the road I wasn’t allowed to cross alone.


Snow in Cape Cod

Is a lie, the lie of water.
On the cape, dunes rise like welts.
Wild turkeys have retreated.
Remember how the milk tasted
when cows grazed near the Salt Pond?
O, dust the color of ice,
Sun fretting beneath hoods of snow.


Deborah Ager is an author, anthology editor, and founder of 32 Poems Magazine. She co-edited The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013) and Old Flame: Ten Years of 32 Poems Magazine (WordFarm, 2012). Her writing has appeared in The Tablet, Kveller, The Rumpus, and Best New Poets 2006. She has held fellowships at the MacDowell Colony and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.