Jim Tilley

It’s Time to Talk
—with a nod to Lewis Carroll

I like oysters, not stuffed and baked the way the carpenter
might have preferred, but raw, on the half-shell, especially

after all the work to pry them open. I don’t know about
my friend, the walrus, who’s been trying hard to avoid being

devoured by a shark. When he graces me with his company
along the oceanfront, I skip stones as we talk of many things.

Today, it was not about the odd family standing knee-deep
having a photo taken for posterity, the sea not boiling hot

in late autumn, nor whether pigs have wings, which they do,
of course, at the Flying Pig Restaurant with its scrumptious

barbecue-pork pizza. We talked not of cabbages, but kings,
the kind who’d tell you that you can no longer skip stones.


The Two Owls

For warding off the unwelcome, I have relied
on my old sentry, a crested owl mounted

on a pole on my backyard deck
like a scarecrow, her primary target

a relentless downy woodpecker tacka-tacka-
tacking new holes beneath the eaves.

I am the other owl, scanning for breaking news
of the tacka-tacka-tacking going on in the world.


Jim Tilley has published three full-length collections of poetry (In Confidence, Cruising at Sixty to Seventy, Lessons from Summer Camp) and a novel (Against the Wind) with Red Hen Press. His short memoir, The Elegant Solution, was published as a Ploughshares Solo. He has won Sycamore Review’s Wabash Prize for Poetry. Four of his poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His poetry Website can be found at jimtilley.net.