Eric Pankey ~ Two Poems


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.
Memory foreshortens
And what is near looms.

How eas­i­ly I can block the sun
With the palm of my hand
Yet the land­scape does not darken.


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).