LANDSCAPE AS ELEGY
Beneath the iron truss bridge,
Shadows overlap and merge,
Ride the deep creek’s moving surface.
Sioux quartzite spires rise
As palisades on either side
Somewhere in South Dakota
Forty-odd years ago.
My friend —I just learned he died
A few days back—
Is the first to jump.
Then two other friends
I have not seen in twenty years.
They each take another turn
Before I get up the courage
To plummet feet-first, submerge
And touch the rocky bottom.
And what is near looms.
How easily I can block the sun
With the palm of my hand
Yet the landscape does not darken.
STARLING ABOVE THE SHANNON
The starlings’s evening murmurations,
A pure medium like mercury,
All transcience and transmutation,
Continues to torque and agitate
As a twisted cylinder, as acute curves.
There is no surface to see beneath,
Only a malleable density and depth,
A flailed flail, an unwound winding sheet.
Involved and involuted. Volatile.
Eric Pankey is the author of many collections of poetry, most recently AUGURY (Milkweed Editions 2017).