The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Eric Pankey



The sky, on permanent display,
Offers a single cloud,
A crisscross of contrails.
                                        In scraggily
Upland trees, in grasses,
Sunlight transfigures to sugar.
A nursing mare shivers
Away flies,
                 shifts her weight
From one hoof to another.
Little rain puddles
Offer fragments of sky
Back to sky.
                    You came
To find knapped flint
And arrowheads, but watch instead
The fed foal frolic.



Eric Pankey

The Attention An Enigma Demands


They drove up and round the mountains
But did not find the alpine lake
So full of the sky one might mistake it for sky.
When embers fly up and draw one’s eyes
To stars, the distance has little to do with
How one thing is like another.



Eric Pankey

Lines at Midsummer


A wall crumbles.
                          A salamander maps the rearranged rocks,
The ivy-loosened mortar, the moss-cool niches.

                        : :

As an ideogram follows an ink-full brush,
                                                                one meditates quickly,
Quickly, on the brevity of all things.


Eric Pankey

The Intervening Years


The ridge is lace-like, stone woven of fog,
Strata uplifted, aslant, eroded, broken.
Rags of mists drag. Clouds submerge the peak.
After a good long while a swift river
Brings down a mountain to its valley.
Until then, the sublime proportion of until then.
Halfway up the mountain the road ends.




ERIC PANKEY is the author of many collections of poems, most recently CROW-WORK from Milkweed Editions. He is the Heritage Chair in Writing at George Mason University.



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