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Lowell Jaeger (Montana Poet Laureate 2017-2019) is the founding editor of Many Voices Press and recently edited New Poets of the American West, an anthology of poets from eleven western states. Jaeger is a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, winner of the Grolier Poetry Peace Prize, and recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Montana Arts Council. He was awarded the Montana Governor’s Humanities Award for his work in promoting civil civic discourse.


Trigger Warning

Wide glass doors open for them
to reign supreme in this room, swooshing
past as we step aside
for their radiant good looks, fresh
from the spa. Her pink angora cuffs
and platinum curls. The other’s satin-sheen
pants and gilded designer heels.

We can’t help but stare, though
they steal the air from us if we stand too near.
Their shoulders squared, necks erect, iron-rod spines.
Their mannered preen, swish, and strut.

The band leader nods to acknowledge them.
Or does he bow? The bartender pivots from his chores
to serve them.

Who are we, as a people,
that wealth and beauty
should afford dominion?

How am I a lesser soul, to cower
from their formidable appraisal?
Why do we ache and reduce ourselves
to wishing we should disappear?

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