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Eric Pankey

Descent into Limbo

Gray is permeable, 


Absorbs shadow and shade

With equal ease:


                          the gray 

Of anvil dust, the shivery gray 

Of graphite, gray

The density of clay,


Rain and greasy soot

To make a gray ink,


Infinite gradations,

A leaden spectrum,

Untinged by, purged of, 



           The gray quarry pond


Out of which

A bloated body is lifted.


Inasmuch as sleep descends, tomorrow’s 


Iteration of fog will lift from the surface.


If one dreams one dreams of water—


Of a river that winds in wide arcs across a dark floodplain;


Of rare Venetian honey from flowers periodically submerged in lagoon tides.


Adrift, without the knowledge of the depth beneath, 


One perceives the stayed tension of a storm far off in the distance;


But no clear border, endpoint, or landfall.


A bit of blue borrowed from Piero della Francesca flashes,


But little else reaches the surface.


The dinghy is the width of a stretcher, the width of a grave—each a bed of sorts.

Pankey - Wrecked
Eric Pankey

Eric Pankey has three books forthcoming in 2019: Owl of Minerva, a collection of poems; Alias, a collection of prose poems and Vestiges, a collection of essays. He teaches in the BFA and MFA programs at George Mason University.

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