Poetry Month Spotlight

Wendy Vardaman

all my poems are old poems


all my poems are old poems, so during
the night I promise my trying-to-sleep & ruminating
self to write a sonnet this morning,
more or less to make the point that I still can.
even if I don’t choose to solidify experience
that way any more. they were snap shots, the poems I wrote.
a thousand or two. hundreds of sonnets.
notes on the children. marriage. rage. my aging

parents. to process my thoughts/
emotions/sensory overload. framed into hard
edged squares of story. I don’t know where this poem
is going. I never did. any more than we know
what’s next in life—the surprises, beautiful
and terrible. the constraints


meditation on impermanence


sometimes you’re zooming around scotland or barcelona. sometimes you’re home, looking out the window of your zoomroom while the rain falls, the ball of a clumsy left foot held by an office chair’s fork

sometimes you’re female. sometimes your feet stop working together

sometimes you’ve just had lunch with a friend at the Milwaukee Art Museum after falling for St. Dionysius. they summon you through vine & monstrance. you tell them you worry about the children, staggering toward adulthood. their story is your story

& then it isn’t


this is a story


one of us was echo
one narcissus

dear echo……..I miss

this is a story

both of us echo
neither narcissus

neither narcissus
nor echo
nor story neither

this a gap

…………this gap


About Wendy Vardaman

Wendy Vardaman, wendyvardaman.com, works as a website manager and has published three collections of poems. In addition to poetry, her creative practice has focused on editing, prose writing, illustration, printmaking, book arts, and design. She served as poet laureate of Madison, Wisconsin, from 2012 to 2015 and volunteers as a designer, artist, and editor.

National Poetry Month
National Poetry Month

BMP Celebrates National Poetry Month

Happy National Poetry Month! For poets and poetry lovers—and perhaps for those who love poets—this is a special time. At Brain Mill Press, we like to celebrate all month long by sharing featured poets, and with our fee-free contest. This year, we’re thinking about poetry cycles, poems that speak to each other, forms that build on each other (like crowns), and the ways a poem can be a scaffold or foundation for other poems. Our words are often in response to other poems, and our own body of work is often an ongoing conversation. We speak to each other, with ourselves, and sometimes into the void—hoping someone will answer back.