Shannon Joy Wazny


Shannon Joy Wazny

Shannon Joy Wazny lives in the city of Winnipeg very near the longitudinal center of Canada. It is located on Treaty 1 territory: traditional homelands of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Dakota, Dene, Oji-Cree Nations, and the homeland of the Red River Metis Nation. Winnipeg is situated on the beautiful prairies where the seasons and nature demand attention.

Shannon has become a quiet person who writes. She enjoys the different challenges and rewards of both free verse and form poetry. She is intrigued and fascinated by current events and strives to be informed so that she can communicate and advocate for the things she values. She also writes prose.

She has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. In 2021 for the 2023 Pushcart and in 2017 for the 2019 Pushcart. She has also been twice nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology.

She enjoys reading her poetry both in person, online and in virtual places. She is grateful to all those who inspire and amuse her.

Besides writing Shannon spends her time reading, practicing photography and creating art. She is driven to capture things of beauty or significance with photography or words.

She loves watching the seasons change and bluster out her window. She is entranced by the big birds and the river changing states as the leaves play out their life cycle for her each year.

She is envisioning a book in her future. Maybe two.


The Dust I Breathe

time goes slow here
arterial road
the dust I breathe
flies from repaired tires on cars with mufflers that strive to sing
a cacophony of pubescent bluster
license plate bingo, slow but easy

they come down the road, not often now,
a dot of colour with a plume
of dust trailing like clouds chasing dreams long past expired
you travel through this way if you don't have anywhere important to be
you don't stay if anyone is waiting for you somewhere else
unless you want them to wait
or disappear

I sit here, finger-scribing my signature in the grit
on the glass tabletop
silence is golden

First appeared in Shot Glass Journal Issue #34 May 2021
Nominated for the 2023 Pushcart Prize anthology
Nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology


(a ghazal)

From her flesh I emerged then came to know alone.
Nameless yet, nursing my loss, without hair, alone.

In the sweet embrace of night our moon has the stars.
The sun gives herself away like a prayer, alone.

She ruled the stage and danced upon her trembling heart.
In the spotlight she was no longer there, alone.

As commanded the brave troops charged the daunting hill
until but one young soldier stood there scared, alone.

Though she knew well the sweetness of a lover's touch,
after she breathed the last of her life's air, alone.

So many cowering dreamless behind closed doors.
Their fight drained from them under all their cares, alone.

I stand a seeking poet breathing unshared air.
Hearing no heartbeat but my own I swear. Alone.

First appeared in Shot Glass Journal Issue #23 September 2017
Nominated for the 2019 Pushcart Prize anthology


I resolve that as I breathe I will feel the wind rushing to my aid
as it tosses autumn's dying leaves for one last hurrah.
I resolve to dream of myself unfettered so as not to shackle my night self.

I had saved up to buy this swimmer's music system,
it attaches to your goggles and presses neon disks against your temples.
Your skull becomes the maestro, and the songsters and geniuses
take up residence inside your cranium.
You feel their vibrations and you are their song.
As I dived deep through the waters, (as near to flying as I have ever known),
I was the music, lyrical and kicking,
and the music was me.

I breathe deeply of my oxygen and don my orchestra.
Feeling the wind travel through
my cannula; I see colourful leaves sticking to my arms as I break through the waters,
the music drowning out the oompah hiss of the oxygen concentrator squatting next to me.

First appeared in Shot Glass Journal Issue #29 September 2019
Nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology

Smoke Dissipates

When she had enough of her pain
she smoked her weed and would succeed
at getting through another day
Music mellow, walls all yellow
she thought in pictures
and wondered if she would love again
Smoke some more and then she'd soar
to the land of hope and oblivion

Sweet scent rises through the vents
to the second-floor aging immigrant
He downs his Stoli with less vigour here
with no one to clink cups and shout Cheers
like in those hard times of yesteryear

Home proud, minimalist, and bare
he stands often and scrapes his chair
rising repeatedly to set things right
where he sits alone each night

Cold War memories, cherished Russian cigarettes
the taste and smell that carries him to old regrets
Stale smoke lingers and later joins the terror dreams
and night screams that travel through the ducts
to intermix with the garbage and cat piss stink
into the suite of the young family on the brink

Kids so joyous, sweet, and unaware
of the hateful stares and silent bewares
Him caught indiscreet; she ponders obsolete
as she drinks her wine in steady sips with fearful yips,
him lost in headlights like a deer
takes long swallows of his beer
Each stare at their handheld phones weighing possibilities
but share their pack of smokes

Soured air escapes the partially open winter window
drifts upwards in white wavering strokes
Tobacco fumes dance with chimney plumes
through to the wispy clouds
then dissipates with all their dreams

Sonnet For Grail

Was lost then found as I entered this room
The words in flight I heard did pull me near
Her talent subtle as a sonic boom
A honeyed voice oozed grace into my ear

Each Sunday then became a prized event
With worldly ways she frolicked on cloud nine
She shared her wisdom as a rose sheds scent
And then she taught the spotlight how to shine

Our world upon its axis spun, it does
And just like lust to love or night to dawn
In time all things must change because, because...
But just like love the poems must go on

The sun goes out the door with all her grace
Her fire remains just like a warm embrace


I decided to give him a name
I call him Thaddeus
I don't know why, it just came to me
like inspiration
or a snippet of birdsong bracketed by stiff breezes
I wonder if he was once loved
Or not loved

I wonder if he had had a name before
It had probably been something not regal enough for him
He walks proud
He is a predator now

He prowls these riverbanks as if he is punching a time clock
You hear the screeches at night
and wonder
then there he is again
snow white

I wonder if he had had a family
If he had had some cutesy name that would embarrass him now
or if the only thing he ever answered to were his whims

I wonder if he thought of himself
or just had fleeting awareness
of prey, stalk, pounce
motion, light, conquer

I wonder if he missed his family
I wonder if he was lonely too.

Lily of the Valley

(a fibonacci)

Lily of the valley plaited in my flaxen hair
Collected from the forest floor
Scented laughter chimes
From white bells
In spring
Once proud
To offer
Flowers for your love
My innocence wilted away
Flowing tears of failure amidst evergreen fragrance

First appeared in The Fib Review Issue # 23 February 2016

The Platitude People

(a fibonacci)

And bleeding
Sit and watch them feed
On fresh drama and misery
Within the covenant of the platitude people
First to offer those empty words
Acid on my tongue
We've all heard
My mind
Hive of bees
Pain a floral feast
I don't belong; Sour note in song
Longing for surcease, even a temporary peace
And now all sunsets look the same
I am made of pain
Hours won't pass
Can't dream
Am unheard
Luster from their pores
They are Mentally keeping score
On this blood-stained stone field of the platitude people
Try to see past the illusions
Bliss of unaware
Raise my eyes
I'm sour
Alone in my room
Remembering pain, me and doom
I am unseen in this realm have nowhere else to be
And then tomorrow's made of glue
And the next day too
I am here
I breathe
At last
Think of me
Find my only peace
A dark cave of drowning white noise
Litany of regret for not being unbroken

First appeared in The Fib Review Issue # 39 Summer 2021

The Offering

(a fibonacci)

poem rises
dream-like, like smoke
forms like Van Gogh's starlight
the whispering light through the window chastises me
ink drips from my pen
morning has broken

First appeared in The Fib Review Issue # 35 February 2020


we watched the whitecoats
gather like carolers
they opened their mouths in unison
pebbles spew from their mouths from height
malignant stone words
as we perched on our glass lives
tensed, expecting to shatter
the world head over heels

the butterflies in our stomach
almost drowned out the words
the pronouncement of the whitecoats
flickering fluorescents
left us weak in the knees
the grey day outside
looked decidedly blue
How can these numbered days end?

First appeared in Shot Glass Journal Issue #26 September 2018

Your Huddled Masses

(a fibonacci)

The migrants were tossed into one another upon a boat that screamed of desperation and nothing to lose.
Peeling paint upon the deck and the tears of children. Water, too much yet begged for.
Minutes made of hours. Leaving everything and nothing promised. Regret loomed like a tidal
wave. Eyes grasped for the distant shore.
Tossed into the ocean like anchors. Salt and treasures dropped to flail. Knowing nightmares were
worst for mothers. All tomorrows would be monochrome. Pulled and slapped by daylight where
the air tasted like knives.
Dragged unwillingly to that once longed for shore. She who once had been made of courage had
become Lot's wife today.
Wordless women wet and weary herded like sheep to white tents to age.
Dreams were poison, asylum wilted. Ghosts still breathing.
Nothing left to reach for.
Prisoners of being.
Sent back.

First appeared in The Fib Review Issue # 35 February 2020

Traffic Jam of Souls

(A triolet reflection on the refugee crises)

Hatred coming from all around
Unwanted traffic jam of souls

Their paradise just can't be found
Hatred coming from all around

The human will does me astound
Some float, some dragged across the coals

Hatred's coming from all around
Unwanted traffic jam of souls



Once I dreamed of fleet-of-foot-ness
overtaking meadow grazers
oaks are blurred like
oil paintings ruined by lovers
obeisance paid to
oppressed and outcast
omnipotent survivors shall redeem me

First appeared in Shot Glass Journal Issue #37 May 2022

The Eclipse


The red fox ran directly west between the seemingly endless rows of late August corn which stood taller than a farmhand. He was chasing his shadow cognizant of the situation. For one second, he froze when night arrived in the middle of the day dissolving his silhouette upon the soil. He heard crickets; then the fox did what he does best, he adapted. He took in the world in this new light, hearing an owl question the darkness. He forgot his shadow game and raced in frantic, ever-expanding circles through the cornstalks alert for prey. The crepuscular rabbit emerged from his burrow into this momentary unusual twilight. Only the more cunning animal saw daylight again.

summer sultry dawn
crickets interrupt morning
stars needed to shine

First appeared in Shot Glass Journal Issue #23 September 2017

Moon Kiss


In the meadow the wildflowers glowed in colours I did not recognize. The moon drew our eyes, showing off its dominance over the persistence of night. Gently swaying tall grasses rolled like waves upon water, graceful as a Viennese Waltz. I saw the moon kiss your hair like a mother does her child. As we sank through the wildflowers, breathing deeply of their fragrance.

Ethereal touch
The tides, and us, in your grasp
I shield my eyes from the beauty

Captured the Raven

The calendar and wind gusts disagreed
My window an exquisite frame
Spring weeping rain
The light is failing but subtle and staid
My mind traverses yesterdays
1000 shades of white strike me
Distance obscured
I am feeling a little less wrong

My eye finds now the snow screened sky
Unfold like a cascading silk robe grasped by gravity
A raven's silhouette
Conveyed steadily from side to side of my view
For a second or two
Grace moves me

First appeared in Shot Glass Journal Issue #34 May 2021

For Silas

His hands find the heartbeat
in the paper and clones the souls
of the seen

The waves of his ocean
wash away words
leaving laughter and tide pools

Anything Left to Give

Before was too loud and frantic as I remember it.
The birds went unnoticed in the sky.
The talking heads have ceased to shed
any light on tomorrow. Filling us in on yesterday's facts.
Your life is now foreign to me;
Behind closed doors.

I feel you are a tumbleweed diminishing.
I wonder if you just don't have anything left to give right now.
I instruct my heart to sprint, and bonus beat for you.
I can heft the load.
Relax and breathe.
I'll meet you on the other side.

First appeared in Shot Glass Journal Issue # 31 May 2020

If the Moon Disappeared

if the moon disappeared
the oceans would grow serene
without the moon's presence
night would lose its magic
darkness would prevail
like in my heart
if you were to leave

A Love Letter to My Broken Camera

Your curves fit into my hands
as if it were preordained
that we would come together
I am not holding you; you have become part of me
We have merged
I am more when I am with you

I show you what I see, and you shine it back at me
I give you a dime and you give me a dollar
every time

When we are together the hands fall off the clock
I am ageless
My mind finds it silence
and I think only with my eyes

We flow like a slowly rolling north wind wave
that never reaches shore

You vindicate me
You show me that I am not imagining what I see
even if no one else sees it

Then after
when we have remembered to breathe again
gravid with the glow of creation
we sit together and you show me your gifts
I feel understood

I miss you, my friend

Midnight Rainbow

Swaying to the silent song
enduring faith in the midnight rainbow.
Shouting out praise of the subtle moon

drowning out the skeptic's demand for fierce daylight.

I knew the midnight rainbow was lurking there,
I heard its hum the other night.
It knew everything.

It sounded like flowers blooming
and sunflowers turning.
and dawning dreams.

First appeared in Shot Glass Journal Issue #23 February 2016

Intimacy of the Riverbank

I don't know if I can do this

I am spent from isolation

The uncertainty

The disingenuous politics

The erasure of integrity


I doubt my strength, my reserves

War in real time on my TV
Interactive maps of the battle unfolding

Those poor people
My heart breaks

I need the trees to bud again
I cannot take the denuded branches

I confided to the trees

Ice thawed patiently in the river

The sun soothed me silently

It had been a long winter

The river was swollen with snowmelt

I heard a single goose flying nearer

The colony has deemed it spring

Time to nest

To renew

A crocus appears
Warmed by the generosity of the pines

First appeared in The Winnipeg Free Press "Writes of Spring" April 2022

Muse-Pie Press  •  R.G. Rader, Editor/Publisher •

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