There is another word for this.
I arrived here via. I found myself astray.
The random birds, omens of randomness,
Scuffled over the millet thrown down.
I followed a path of et cetera, carried like charm
My own death, a stifled yawn.
A sparrow upheld the mulberry
As the cicadas’ racket shriveled.
Heat awaited a remedy of wind.
Who scattered the millet about?
Who left an irregular trail of et cetera?
The mulberry stood empty, tenantless.
Amid the random, I found myself astray.
I stifled a yawn as if I might choke on it.
I arrived by way of. There’s another word for this.
A dry creek bed undercuts
Wind-wrought cliffs. Polished to a dull luster,
The day moon seems an exact facsimile
Of itself: a chalky smear, an indelible
Residue, so easily blotted out by glare.
Seeps of minerals stain
The rock face like tally marks,
Like stray scratches on a page,
Gestures read as letterforms,
Or a map of magnetic fields.
The spare haze of distant heat
Offers a light reminiscent of rainfall.
One likes to imagine the water
Cleansed as it weaves through strata,
Through the taut interlace of warp and weft.
Eric Pankey is the author of many collections of poetry as well as a book of essays. A new collection of poems, Not Yet Transfigured, is forthcoming in fall of 2021. He is the Heritage Chair in Writing at George Mason University.