Tricia Bogle

Pine Row Issue No. 7 Summer 2023 - Featured Poet




My failing eyesight makes everything a metaphor:

things become other things—

shade and water,

spore and snow.

The deer is a fallen log;

the falling leaf—a sparrow

alighting on that log.


Only what is close is clear;

I look up and my world blurs;

grey rocks—silver haunches of racoons,

a whole family sitting, backs to me.

Waxwing flock—leaves in an updraft—

I can’t tell in this transfigured world,

and I wonder at 52, does this make me a better poet?


Yesterday, walking, I gazed into the still forest

and saw only trees, until the doe standing there moved.

In the moment before it became a doe, it was a tree,

wanted to be a tree—

like the girls in myths who run from some gods

while begging others to help them.


My deer transformed the other way—

from a still thing

to one with a heartbeat.

* * * * * *

Solstice Two



The fawns have something to tell me

but I can’t quite hear it—

as I can’t quite see them,

sitting, legs tucked under in the ferns,


waiting for their mother to return. 

I only glimpse them when they move,

and they try hard not to, staying still

until they are overcome by sleep


and their heads lower to the ground.

They disappear then, invisible in stillness,

and I know if I look away, and back,

I won’t find them again.


I strain to hear their mother,

returning softly as a ghost.

But there is only birdsong, wind in trees,

a squirrel clattering through branches.


When a mother leaves, everyone knows

she is coming back—


The momma cat slips away from her kittens

to go hunting while they are groggy with milk:

eyes shut, blind, in an unconcerned pile

knowing nothing but her smell


that is there

and gone

and back again


Last night I heard the owl as I went to bed:

One-two, rising hoot

One-two, falling—

Who cooks for you?


I remembered, then, the scent of bread,

of oxtail, of cherries, and cardamom—

and told myself:

the one who cooked for you is gone,


like the unmoving doe you saw this morning,

outlined in sunlight,

struck and crumpled

by the side of the road.

About the poems:  as shared by the poet


The poem "Daphne," came about as the first lines suggest: In middle-age, my eyesight started changing in unexpected ways. Although I've worn glasses for nearsightedness since I was 8, the shift to *also* needing glasses for close reading was recent and dramatic. I often write when I am outside so that I can look up from the page and back--a process that literally requires shifting perspective. I wonder now what it could mean for my work if I were to completely lose the ability to do this. This poem is, in part, an attempt to make peace with that possibility. My background in philosophy also regularly informs my poetry, so it felt natural to reference Daphne in a poem about transfiguration. In Greek myths, it's not at all strange for "things [to] become other things," and I wanted to evoke that sense of magic and wonder. Daphne's story is tragic in many ways, but this poem gave me an opportunity to partially undo that tragedy--if only for a moment.

"Solstice Two"

This poem is an attempt to grapple with the untimely loss of a mother. During the pandemic, when I wrote this, I spent a lot of time at a rented cabin in the Catskills, watching and listening to the wildlife on the property, and sitting with my grief. I always try to write a poem (or notes for a poem) on the solstices. This poem came from notes written on the summer solstice--a time in the Catskills when many fawns are out with their mothers. Wildlife experts advise that if you see a fawn alone around this time of year it might seem "abandoned," but you should not interfere. It is common for mothers to leave their young alone for extended periods of time. If you watch and wait, you will generally see the mother return. When I was growing up, I saw this phenomenon many times with the barn cats on family properties in Missouri. In the Catskills that summer, though, every time I passed a dead deer on the road, it was hard not to think, "some mothers are never coming back." (A note: Birders will know the owl referenced in the poem is a barred owl, from the call, "Who cooks for you?") 

Tricia Bogle (she/her/hers) is a NYC-based poet and writer with deep roots in Missouri. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing & Philosophy (Loyola Baltimore), an M.A. in Political Theory, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy (Fordham).  For over a decade she taught advanced courses in bioethics, exploring ways to negotiate what is human in a world increasingly mediated by technology. Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Passengers Journal, Cagibi, South Dakota Review, and Chautauqua.

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