Light By Which I Read
One does not turn to the rose for shade, nor the charred song of the redwing for solace. This past I patch with words is a flaw in the silvering, memory seen through to. There I find the shallow autumn waters, the three stolen pears, The horizon edged with chalk, loose where the fabric frayed. Each yesterday glacier-scored, each a dark passage illumined by a honeycomb. * I begin to fathom the brittle intricacy of the window’s scrim of ice. For years, I managed without memory—stalled, unnumbered, abridged— No more alive than a dismembered saint enthroned in two hundred reliquaries. Now, it is hard not to say I remember, hard, in fact, not to remember. Now, I hear the filament’s quiver, its annoying high frequency, light by which I read. * River mist, mudbanks, and rushes mediate the dark matter Between two tomorrows: one an archive of chance effects, The other a necropolis of momentary appearances and sensations. One, a stain of green, where a second wash bleeds into the first. The other time-bound, fecund, slick with early rain. * As if to impose a final hermeneutic, all at once the cicadas wind down. The gooseberry bush looms like a moon: each berry taut, sour, aglow. The creek runs tar in the cloud-light, mercury at dusk. Then the frogs start up. Clay-cold at the marrow. A hollow pulse-tick. And it seems, at last, I’ve shed my scorched and papery husk.
Copyright © 2005 by Eric Pankey. Reprinted with permission of Ausable Press.
The author of numerous collections of poetry, Eric Pankey's first collection, For the New Year, won the 1984 Walt Whitman Award.
Date Published: 2005-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/light-which-i-read