Summer 1984 • Vol. VI No. 3 Voices in American PoetryJuly 1, 1984 |

Chekhov on the Way to Singapore

This kind of fear is not new to me.One night on the inland trip, I woke to a breeze of dust and mosquitoes.The moon, liquid and turquois, reflected on the surface of Lake Baikal, lit the tall grass along the paths the reindeer sleighs cut into the woods.I had heard such paths into the forest, when overgrown at the end of spring, might lead to an illegal still or the encampment of escaped convicts.I searched for a long while in my bag for a pocketknife I swore I had packed until I was tired again and slept.Tonight it is easy to imagine how dark the sea gets beneath the ship and how carefully a weight might drift to the soft silt and sediment.I have to use a handkerchief all the time now; my cough has begun.In the evenings I feel feverish.I must, again, look after myself.We have buried two bodies at sea.When you see a corpse, sewn in canvas,hurtled with a slow somersaultinto the water behind the stern,and when you remember just how deepthe water grows beneath the ship,you begin to fee

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Eric Pankey is the author of many collections of poetry, most recently Not Yet Transfigured (Orison Books, 2021). A chapbook called The Future Perfect: A Fugue is forthcoming from Tupelo Press. Pankey is the Heritage Chair in Writing at George Mason University.

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By Eric Pankey

This kind of fear is not new to me.One night on the inland trip, I woke to a breeze of dust and mosquitoes.The moon, liquid and turquois, reflected on the […]

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