Beyond the traceries of the auroras, The fires of tattered sea foam, The ghost-terrain of submerged icebergs; Beyond a cinder dome's black sands, Beyond peninsula and archipelago, Archipelago and far-flung islands, You have made of exile a homeland, Voyager, and of that chosen depth, a repose. The eel shimmers and the dogfish darts, A dance of crisscrosses and trespasses Through distillate glints and nacreous silts, And the sun, like fronds of royal palm Wind-torn, tossed, lashes upon the wake, But no lamplight mars or bleaches your realm, A dark of sediment, spawn, slough, and lees, Runoff, pitch-black, from the rivers of Psalms.
From Oracle Figures by Eric Pankey. First appeared in The Kenyon Review. Copyright © 2003 by Eric Pankey. Reprinted by permission of Ausable Press. All rights reserved.