Timothy Pilgrim


Tear off price tag —
Behind the Glamour $18

next to long row, prison-cell lines,
crush bar code, make tight ball,

toss it away. The wad won't let go,
adheres to fingers, as if to chide,

Marilyn's worth any price.
Study her photos by the bed,

wonder if any Prufrockean meaning
lies in stickiness, steamy novels,

all those Norma Jean YouTube posts.
Probably not, given white sheets,

imagined whisper, throaty, low,
Must flee white men using me.

Runner-up disciple

Like America, Justus, next in line
but outside — apart. Almost a part.

Just us, we two, screw you.
A good man, well maybe heavy

on greed, lust, just not good enough.
Of ninety apostles, fill Judas' spot,

one rule — no more betrayal,
but don’t forget about race.

Justus did not seal deal, seize
victory, cheat to win, build a wall.

Matthias takes the robe, makes it
an even dozen again. Runner-up

done in by twitter, tweet, eyelash,
Jesus winking from the shadows.

Irony nailed to humility.
The payback, blind justice for all.

Solstice ceremony at Medicine-walkers

Rainbow strokes drum again,
beat probing bonfire flame,

invoking mother earth, water, air.
She summons power, the ancients,

an unkindness of ravens, lets pass
a murder of crows. Day on the fade

dips red, lilac, pink, finds gray.
We circle the blaze — whirl, dance,

chant. Sparks snap, rise bright,
take flight with our prayers, clear

cedar trees, streak high. I see them
surge deep into cringing night.

Timothy Pilgrim, of Bellingham, Wash., U.S. is a Pacific Northwest poet and 2018 Pushcart Prize nominee with several hundred acceptances from journals like Seattle Review, Third Wednesday, Windsor Review, Sleet Magazine, Santa Anna River Review, Otoliths, and Hobart. He is author of Mapping Water (Flying Trout Press, 2016).
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