Fall 1987 • Vol. IX No. 4 PoetryOctober 1, 1987 |

Permanence

Those days, I still say. Those daysas clear as light off frost or the not quite magenta,almost red of the peony floating in the silver bowl.Floating, then falling apart, petals jostling silverlike lovely useless boats. Dissolved like salt in water,not lost? My own history settles like fine sediment.I can remember David, my brother, upstairs addingand subtracting. His world shook by negative numbers,that in truth there was something less than zero. He proved iton paper. Don't you believe a thing they say, he warned. Whatyou take away is still there.   In the storm-wet charred remainsof an old tavern, the place some folks said the mob burned downand for good reason, I found —I guess because I was bored,nosy and early to work for my job at All Nations'Capitol Flag and Banner Company—in the rubble,a dead man. Foul play, I thought. But it was just exposure.He'd been there, I learned, for days. A gritty light fell, filteredthrough t

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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

Those days, I still say. Those daysas clear as light off frost or the not quite magenta,almost red of the peony floating in the silver bowl.Floating, then falling apart, petals […]

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