Two Poems

Timothy Pilgrim

Image of purple lupines and pink fireweed in the foreground. Behind the flowers, slightly out of focus, are various green grasses and scrubby bushes. The grassy area ends abruptly indicating a cliff edge. Below is a river with white-capped rushing water. On the far side of the river, at the top of the photo, is an irregular rocky cliff topped with vegetation.

Photo Credit: Brian Dearth/Flickr (CC-by)


Dawn, twins arrive, behind the fir,
her second year of birth. By noon
a third lies dead near spotted lumps
asleep in leaves under the dogwood tree.
She has a bit of time to feed on tulips,

columbine, laurel, choice weeds.
I sneak out, cover what’s left
of blueberry with net, put out salt,
tub of water, lock the gate.
Four hours pass, my window vigil—

are they alive—YES, first, one,
then the other totters out, begins
to nurse. Garden-pot-tall,
spindly, unsure, they stray,
nose the grass. Ears rise, turn

to each new sound, somehow
they re-find her, reach up, nuzzle,
nurse. Both  wobble away, lie
amid planters warmed by sun—
begin to nap. Mom reclines, rests

in grass, chews, grooms—ears
keeping track of cat on patio,
boys brawling next door, plus
blended sounds of skittering squirrel,
dipping jay, pressure-washer whir.

The pattern repeats three times,
dusk, dark—I fail to sleep.
Day two mirrors one—lurch
through salal, day lilies, taste peas,
return to teat. Rest three hours, nose

young leeks, cross lawn, find mom.
Third morning, she leaps the gate,
I prop it open, hours later see her go,
twins in tow. They lurch along
to gone. I bury the dead fawn.


Beat me up

Sky dances four shades of blue,
evades cloud-frowns blown
like a bad past across it,

turbulent as canyon river foam.
I believe for a time I see him,
still alive, hazel eyes not stormy,

like mine. Lupines bow low,
swoop wild in wind, admonish me,
confess. I recall summer hike here—

trail headed sunward, him left behind—
I moved out, upward, alone,
along the granite ridge. He hid,

shy, never waved goodbye. Sheer edge
still here, no way to turn, I reach
into mist, come up empty.

Maybe in the fall, if I whip myself
sufficiently with this memory,
on the way down, I won’t flail.


Timothy Pilgrim, a Pacific Northwest poet living in Bellingham, Wash., has over 500 hundred acceptances from U.S. journals such as Seattle Review, Red Coyote and Santa Ana River Review, and international journals such as Windsor Review in Canada, Toasted Cheese in the U.S. and Canada, Prole Press in the United Kingdom, and Otoliths in Australia. Pilgrim is the author of Seduced by metaphor (2021) and Mapping water (2016). Email: pilgrimtima[at]

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