Jennifer Lagier is a member of the Italian American Writers Association and the National Writers Union, Local 7. She has published poetry in a variety of journals, anthologies, and e-zines throughout the U.S. and Italy. Her four books are Coyote Dream Cantos (Iota Press, 1992), Where We Grew Up (Small Poetry Press, 1999) and Second-Class Citizen (Voices in Italian Americana Folio Series, 2000) and The Mangia Syndrome (Pudding House Publications, 2004). Jennifer teaches at Hartnell College and California State University, Monterey Bay. Please visit her personal web site,
Bird song telegraphs the subtle coming of autumn.
We wander a crazy-quilt trail, scarlet poison oak
stitched with green oaks and dusty brown pine cones.
Thin limbs dangle skinny kung fu moss beards,
broken wreckage of scrub brush. Below this knoll, a misplaced
white egret walks like a resurrected saint upon lazy water.
Prehistoric pelicans plummet from dripping skies,
belly-flop into the turquoise cove where a kelp coverlet
squirms, spills black sea birds and otters.
Varicose roots force us to slow down,
watch shifting terrain and our stumbling feet.
Sea thrift parts, revealing gray succulents, miniature poppies.
Cooling winds sweep tired sage
from osteoporic shore,
gather sharp stars of twittering wrens,
cast seaweed and an empty crab carapace
back to the uneasy ocean.
Here veiled sunlight
descends in subtle, burning prayer.
Hidden fallow deer stretch and unclench
within fallen cypress.
I feel mystery turning, unfolding
its first shy beginnings
beneath my slow heartbeat.
Like salty Argonauts
in search of hidden grail,
gulls defy gravity to ascend
sullen dunes and grumbling tides.
I frisk torn granite for necessary clues.
Wings stroke above the damp fog,
tow fading afternoon inland.
I’m on the menopause diet—count calories,
consume recipes with color photos, gain fifty pounds.
Hunger my constant companion, the lean body of youth,
like my metabolism, now dead and gone.
With growling stomach, I squeeze into sweat pants, exercise endlessly.
Secret trysts with Hostess cupcakes have been renounced.
Somewhere, an emaciated saint hallucinates from low blood sugar.
In my kitchen, I stir melted butter, sautee garlic, plump tiger prawns.
Here holy anorexia has been replaced by a reverence for chocolate,
gaunt chic shoved aside by my renaissance rump.
I worship mother Eve, the hostess archetype, generously
making sure there was enough apple to go around.
We’re both tired of performing penance for craving,
then succumbing, that damned preordained fall.