Meta Description: Adventure poet Timothy Pilgrim shares 'To Exxon 30 Years Later'
Timothy Pilgrim

by Timothy Pilgrim

To Exxon 30 years later
(after “To Exxon” 1989)
Pipeline, tanker began the sadness.
Your legend as robber baron hangs on,
keeps memories of ebony ice alive, 
takes us back to frozen tundra
primed with promises even caribou
knew were lies. We still feel pain
receding glaciers can’t scrub away.
Recall how we tromped black sand,
piled oil-soaked murres, seals, otters
shoulder-high, set them ablaze.
We collected bald eagles fallen
from slick sky, tossed them, too,
onto the pyre, watched it outshine 
endless dusk. Puffins staggered in,
vainly tried to preen, white feathers
matted down. They wobbled
to Prince William Sound, drooped, 
drowned. At night we burned ice
to stay warm. Your lawyers slapped
our backs in bars, bought drinks.
The high court, nine sleek crows —
a murder of them — put out of mind
seabirds, over a quarter million,
thousands of otters, hundreds 
of seals, whales, all perished, 
their kind never again to thrive.
The court believed your tale: a tragic,
terrible event … one for which…
(Exxon) has paid dearly.
They found
no reason for a severe fine. Shores 
lie bare now, thick oil still oozes
beneath beach rocks. Beach workers,
seabird washers, the Valdez,
all, gone. Skimmers, booms, 
the dead, buried deep in black past.
We dream on Arctic nights —
lightning strikes, the whole bay
catches fire, flames race to shore,
find you, burn you out of town. 
We wake to salted tears and hate,
twin tides coming on schedule
to spread the hidden crude around. 


Three ducks on snowducks and snow, two left behind

 Published by Cascadia Rising Review
copyrighted Timothy Pilgrim photo: ducks and snow, two left behind

Timothy Pilgrim, a native of Montana and retired university journalism professor living in Bellingham, Wash., is a Pacific Northwest poet and 2018 Pushcart Prize nominee. His poems have been accepted more than 500 times by journals such as Toasted Cheese, Mad Swirl, Cirque, Santa Ana River Review, Windsor Review, Hobart, Otoliths and Prole Press in the U.S. Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. He is the author of Mapping water and Seduced by metaphor: Timothy Pilgrim collected published poems, which the back cover calls “a 10 on any Richter imagination scale.”