Grilling Out & Other Poems by Vivian Wagner

It’s the Little Things

Vivian Wagner poetry is like inhaling the present moment. Take the time to read her work and may it encourage you to find joy in the now!

Grilling Out

We set up the hibachi

between our trailers,

under a cottonwood tree,

and circled the cast iron

pocket filled with coals.

We watched fire

progress to ash,

listened to grease drip

and burn, wiped

watermelon juice

from our chins.

In those moments,

the summer evening,

like the rest of the future,

spread around us, an infinite,

smoky expanse only vaguely

aware of the coming night.


Their tunnels are

long and dark,

near and far,

alongside the foundation

and under trees,

beneath the fence,

towards the woods.

They watch me when

they surface, listening

for news from above-

ground, even as their

minds move below.

Crocheter’s Lament

I wish I had used

up all the yarn,

not worried about

seeming like

a granny for

crocheting all

the time, since

we’re all grannies




My sorrows prefer sheets,

fresh and washed,

folded neatly in the closet.

My sorrows don’t remember

what it’s like to not be on a shelf.

My sorrows are the color of my cat,

golden and promising.

My sorrows don’t know

what to do next.

My sorrows like to crochet.

My sorrows enjoy a big screen.

My sorrows sometimes

make chocolate chip cookies.

My sorrows, this morning,

took a walk and feel

a bit better.

Sacred Things


The space between breaths

Light on purple yarn

A cat licking himself

Cool, rainy breeze

Pine needles

Sound of traffic

Water through culvert

Ringing in ears

The space between breaths



Vivian Wagner lives in New Concord, Ohio, where she’s an associate professor of English at Muskingum University. Her work has appeared in Slice Magazine, Muse/A Journal, Forage Poetry Journal, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Gone Lawn, The Atlantic, Narratively, The Ilanot Review, Silk Road Review, Zone 3, Bending Genres, and other publications. She’s the author of a memoir, Fiddle: One Woman, Four Strings, and 8,000 Miles of Music (Citadel-Kensington); a full-length poetry collection, Raising (Clare Songbirds Publishing House); and three poetry chapbooks: The Village (Aldrich Press-Kelsay Books), Making (Origami Poems Project), Curiosities (Unsolicited Press), and Spells of the Apocalypse (forthcoming from Thirty West Publishing House).

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