The 2River View 28.3 (Spring 2024)

Jim Tilley


I know it’s merely physics at work, not some
artist who snuck down to the pool during the night
after the late January snowfall to create her art
on the pool’s cover, no telltale footprints
giving her away. But the brush strokes are perfect,
sweeping the middle section of the canvas clean,
curving the edges of each abdominal segment
of the giant caterpillar inching its way free.
What force of nature could so neatly clear
the lowest point of the cover instead of piling up
snow there? Not gravity. I can’t help but think
of the artwork as a sign that at least here, if not
everywhere, the weather is changing, the caterpillar
about to spin a large chrysalis. Soon a butterfly.


By the Pond

He worked at the clothing factory
that manufactured synthetic fabrics
long before anyone understood that
the waste pond on the grounds would forever
condemn the property after the plant
closed its doors for good. That’s where he met her,
secretary to one of the managers.
On sunny days they’d lunch together—
it was permitted back then—under the trees,
always upwind, not wanting to spoil
the atmosphere. They watched the colors shimmer
on the pond. Once married, they chose to live
nearby so they could walk back late at night
and view the colors under the lights.

Jim Tilley has published three full-length collections of poetry and a novel with Red Hen Press. His poem “On the Art of Patience” won Sycamore Review’s Wabash Prize. His next poetry collection, Ripples in the Fabric of the Universe: New & Selected Poems, will be published in June 2024. website
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