Five Poems by Eric Pankey

Five Poems by Eric Pankey

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Measurement Conversion

With only tides to tell time
The standardization of minute increments
Is a near impossible task

The irrefutable changes day to day
Once measured the hours
In between become distance

The distance a scaled map
Printed on newsprint
That tears as it is refolded

The tide stalls before it turns
The length of that stall is a single unit
Day to day the changes irrefutable



Late Thoughts

Such a small matter
A grit that chafes
A kernel that rubs

At the core
At the crux
This late thought

As immaterial light
Leaves the room
As viscous dark

The ambiguous space
Sleep is elusive

You wait for its
Moment of scission
To set you adrift

A sub-lunar figure
A weightless aura
A water-edged contour

An emptied hull
As it begins to sink



The Open Shutter

for Uta Kogelsberger

In the night of a long exposure
The moving figure disappears
Not even a blur of ghost flesh

Or wisp of fog unfurled remains
Looked at long enough the body
In motion transmutes to plasma

To ether then at last to the invisible
Exposed and thus exposed is erased
A figure no longer figured



Transitional Object

The incongruities
Of scale

Or the point
At which all
Things vanish

Although no one
Has yet deciphered
The oracle bone script

A word still recalls
A referent
In the world

Like you I occupy
A mutable
And indeterminate space

I am never absent
Thus embody
My absence wholly



A Light Remains on in a Sleeping House

A confluence of air masses inhabits the hallway, fills the narrow space. At one end, the room he shares. He can hear the sleeper’s breathing ease, hear her eyes as they close. At the hallway’s other end, a mirror hangs, heavy with all it holds: a palimpsest of desires, grids and facades, conflated perspectives, multiple vanishing points scattered like birdshot. . . The hall light is on but barely casts his shadow.




Eric PankeyEric Pankey is the author of 12 collections of poetry, most recently Augury (Milkweed Editions 2017). A new book, Owl of Minerva, is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions in the unspecified future.

Header photo by Tim Hill, courtesy Pixabay. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.