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Eric Pankey

Radio Live Transmission

To Step Out Onto Air

Northern-Facing Window

Radio Live Transmission

One had hoped to isolate
The singularity of the moment,
Although never doubted

The impossibility of the task.
The moment is lost, the present
Present only for the present.

A note is sounded and gone
Before one noticed it diminished.
The radio, tuned more often

Than not to static, offers
A wordless ghost story of sorts,
A mantic and oracular white noise.

It’s easy enough to miss
The signs and portents
Of one’s future death.

Words get in the way
Of such a substanceless transmission.
Telepathy is what one is after,

Even if one must bang it out—
The long and short of it—
As a telegraph in jittery code.

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To Step Out Onto Air

The edgeland
An emptied scruffy space
Gullied and flensed by erosion

Ends cliff side
Sometimes I feel
A dis-ease as if a shadow

Cast its object
As if I had prepared for an accident
With inscrutable intent

Below a ragged coastline
Snarls of contorted bladderwrack
As the tide turns

A shingled spit emerges
I never wish to jump
But to step out onto air

Where sea and fog and sky are a single element
It almost seems possible
To stay aloft

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Northern-Facing Window

A mirror hangs at an odd angle to its reflection,
Undermines the plumb and the level.

The window overlooks
A gibbous moon in a leafless willow

Each object is dusted with the residue of cast shadows,
With the once-was,the arcane.

Keats says he is content
To look on the mists of idleness.

Autumn is the longest season
Albeit blurred and crepuscular.

In the midst of idleness
Is how I had misremembered it.

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Eric Pankey is the author of twelve books of poems, most recently Crow-Work and Trace. A new collection, Augury, is forthcoming in 2017. A 1983 graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop, he is a professor of English and the Heritage Chair in Writing at George Mason University and resides in Fairfax, Virginia. Check out his artwork at:

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