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Kelly Pilgrim

Date of Birth: 1/31/69
Location: Western Australia
Awards: Prize Winner in Suite 101 Poetry Month


Father's Mistress Now sheís given away everything, nothing seems lost.
I came back to the same garden timidly clutching his prize chrysanthemums
under the mountain drizzle, under the almond trees.
She glistens, she was in love, the girl with the haystack hair,
in this unseasonable winter;
itís the same old story.

Thereís nothing fresh to be learned from her unbearable story.
She has a lightness of being, attune to what she has lost,
though not mirrored in her fragrant solemn eyes of winter.
I stood in the garden, overgrown with wild thyme and chrysanthemums
and studied the greenery against the stain of her brandied hair;
the earth all around her, pregnant -- heavy with trees.

Heavy with her, thrown by the handful, whispered to trees
pulled from his garden, the very beginning of her story,
so scarcely the only thing left, wafting through her hair
where she invited herself into my fatherís life, where she lost
herself in him. She didnít notice me offer her his chrysanthemums,
a bridge to mute our common pain, with the onset of winter.

Drizzle coated her sullen features like early rain of winter
and moodiness swelled beneath with the roots of the trees.
I raised my steady arm and toasted the air with chrysanthemums
imaging what she might tell me if I cared to hear her story;
if she would huddle with me under the almonds and tell me how she lost
her youth; I might then hold her closely, crushing her hair.

Long and presumptuous, folding over her shoulders, hair
caught in the trap of wind and rain in this vicious winter,
taking with it the leaves of barren branches, mocking all she lost.
I know of her loneliness, her dark figure cuts its shadow on the trees.
They have their own history of the man that lies beneath them, the story
of the old man who captured her spirit and raised chrysanthemums

And when the sun comes up again, only the chrysanthemums
will raise their faces to the warmth, she will hide behind matted hair
like a shy child in a bad movie, reading the script, telling the story
of a young girl fallen for an old man and his death in the deep of winter.
His bones to dust to earth under a canopy of almond trees.
She thinks that nobody could know all she has lost.

She doesnít think of what I have also lost, this girl with raven hair.
Chrysanthemums falling from my hand, in this unseasonable winter;
my father and I under the almond trees, itís the same old story.