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Vivian Wagner

Vivian Wagner- headshot - color

Vivian Wagner lives in New Concord, Ohio, where she teaches English at Muskingum University. She’s the author of a memoir, Fiddle: One Woman, Four Strings, and 8,000 Miles of Music, and a poetry collection, The Village. Visit her website at

Blessing of the Pine Bark Beetle

may you find the nourishment you need
without destroying the forest
may you choose only the weakest trees,
leaving ones who can survive
may you look at the stars, sometimes,
and listen to the wind, having
thoughts beyond yourself
may you not be a harbinger of the end
but a reminder of all the
ways we can begin again

Highway 14

This road, with its sagebrush and creosote,
granite and sandstone, stars above like
a ceiling speckled by a parent wanting
to make a bedroom just right: this road
is my road, the road home, the road
away from home, back, and away again.
The road keeps carrying me,
not asking why, just spreading out
ahead and behind, an asphalt carpet
warping in desert sun so bright
it destroys sight, so clear it’s honey
melted in a pan and poured over pancakes
my mom keeps making for me, even
in years she’s dead, even in years
she’s never seen, even in years she might
not have known what to say about,
over these pancakes she still serves,
smiling, looking faintly into a
distance she must know is there.

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