The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Eric Pankey

After Memory


The space of memory is emptied
Its volume its mass gives way
To ordinary air to common water

The scrawl of the cartographer’s notes
The reconstructed prairie the unsealed
Unsent letter of ambiguous intent

Are not forgotten but gone erased
Without a smudge or the paper torn
You always imagined the ease of it

The absenting the effacement
The names of things the speed
Of light in its transit superfluous

Without memory there is no desire
Or desire is not more than snow on water
Your are fluent at last in the not knowing



Eric Pankey

Study with Vanishing Point


The window remains
But the view has changed
The space contained

Occupies as well its container
No narrative to join the objects
The desk the lamp’s cast

Cone of dusty glare
The books moved
From one end table

To another
Out of sunlight
Remain unread

That perhaps is where
A story starts or in the distance
Where all things vanish

So many lines
In this parallel universe

So much gets tracked in
The sand the salt
The dried culm

Sometimes a flame
Detaches from its fuel
Leaps over the swail

And the prescribed burn
Is anything but
That’s what the sunset

Looks like just now
At this southern most point
Flaring up as it does




ERIC PANKEY's twelfth collection of poetry, Augury, is due out from Milkweed Editions in Fall 2017. He teaches in the BFA and MFA programs at George Mason University.



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