Rebecca Foust

Why Pilgrim?

Yes, Pilgrim’s a buzz-kill: dour, dry, dull;
what’s cool now is hurling the word,
an insult, at white racists.
Yes, colonists were colonialists
and for Native Americans, Pilgrim
means genocide. But weren’t some of them
—Anne Bradstreet for one—also idealists,
striving and brave? Look how the word
constellates a whole world: girl, glim, imp,
grip, grim, rip, lip, not to mention
the wondrous pi. Also, yes, pig.
Pilgrim holds—good and bad—what I am,
featured here in its radicle form:
seeker, someone who leaves her home.