Dan Wagner

Madeline, Divine at the Rocks

Sprawled naked, clenched, are these rocks, run up on the shoreline

In this way, some exaltation, lapping up towards me
And burned off seconds later
they find comfort, my warm-blooded legs

Madeline strides, in a soft invention
Curling the shore, regifting the stones back to the waves
There’s no water like this in my hometown

She talks for both of us

Once a semester, this view reminds me
Water is not the only thing washing over this place
Wearing it down:

A current of time, immutable in frailty

Never think to savor a moment, as dust spinning
Or moss soaking in ocean water
Or each time our pilgrimage repeats

I am not replaced, when the light burns out
After providing me the use of eye and hand and pen to work through the night
I am not screwed out, filled with new argon eyes
Or given a dress of mercury, to continue on the traditions of day, long and far into the dark
Nor am I scraped clean when my wax is covering the extinguished wick at dawn
Away from my city nestled between the mountains

There are no fated things, I don’t believe

Only Madeline, lost in her thoughts of fading time, like mine
And our annual holiday to the ocean
To refill my veins, when I am out of blood in the sinuous valley

Dan Wagner is a poet born, raised, and based in Burlington, Vermont. The themes of Wagner’s poetry circle around the natural world, and its relation to our collective human memory, informed by the beauty and isolation that a Vermont upbringing provides. As of Graduating Champlain College in Spring 2022, Wagner has been writing poetry now for 8 months.