Notes on Looking

   
The white of the magnolia

A repertoire of rusted objects

The celestial bodies’ calibrated
But unseen influence upon one’s fate

The ocean lighter than the sky

The eighteen flame-like points
Of the staghorn sumac

Sunrise through acidic humidity

Space compressed through a concave lens

Authenticity undermined by ambiguity

An arrow-pierced saint tied to a tree

A sketch of the fletched shaft
Of the tree alone without the saint

 

 

 

The Original Condition

 
Calling it a blue distilled from dusk
Does not change the fact
That a shadow has no tangible content

                        : :

Like an obscure passage
In an obscure text the path
Ahead is overrun with marginalia

                        : :

Transcribe the disorderly present
As a figment as the attainable
Original condition

                        : :

At the center of the epic
On a wind-buffeted coast
A bow remains unstrung

                        : :

To revive the archaic
Find a surface
Upon which to mark

 

 

 

Eric PankeyEric Pankey has three books forthcoming in 2019: a collection of poems, Owl of Minerva, from Milkweed Editions, a collection of prose poems, Alias, and a collections of essays, Vestiges, both from Free Verse Editions/Parlor Press. He is the Heritage Chair in Writing at George Mason University.
  
Read five earlier poems by Eric Pankey in Terrain.org.

Header photo by Silver Spiral Arts, courtesy Shutterstock.

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