Eric Pankey
The Constellations of Autumn


Who oversees this congregation, this collect of caws, this clamor of rooks, gathered by grace around a carcass?. 


Alas, our narrator is despondent [from the Latin, despondere, meaning 'solemnly to undertake a promise'] and having given his word, has nothing else to give. 


It is not the rain that set the star-of-Bethlehem white above the valley. Hath the rain a father? It is not the rain, but a hillside of white flowers. 


Now is the hour for dousing the fire. The curfew. "Too much whiskey these days, late getting up/I lie and watch the western hills, give up on unfinished poems." 


Thomas Merton: "A postulant said this morning, 'How deep do they dig a grave? They have been at it all morning.'" 


A sudden wind through the summerhouse. The constellations of autumn. The landscape a box of air, an empty reliquary. Error not erased but crossed out. 


Aquinas believes poetry the lowliest of the sciences--it has very little truth about it. I walk the road and argue with Aquinas. Point out the thistle, the cornflowers. 


Who would not curse the snake and its shadowy reflection? Who in finding its papery skin snagged in brambles does not begin to believe the Resurrection? 


When the roll is called up yonder [ldots] When the roll is called up yonder [ldots] When the roll is called up yonder I'll be there. 


Too much whiskey these days. Late in getting up. I lie and watch the western hills. The sun all haze. Read the poems of my teachers and go back to bed. 

Found In Volume 28, No. 04
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Eric Pankey
About the Author

Eric Pankey is the author of Trace (Milkweed Editions, 2013); The Pear As One Example: New and Selected Poems, 1984—2008(Ausable Press, 2008); Reliquaries (Ausable Press, 2005); Oracle Figures (Ausable Press, 2003); Cenotaph (Knopf, 2000); The Late Romances (Knopf, 1997); Apocrypha (Knopf, 1991)and Heartwood (1988), which was reissued by Orchises Press in 1998.


Pankey’s poems have also been published in several anthologies including Poets Against the War (Nation Books, 2003) and The Poetry Anthology, 1912—2002 (Ivan R. Dee, 2004). His essay, “Meditative Spaces," was included inRadiant Lyre: Essays on Lyric Poetry (Graywolf Press, 2007). He is the editor of This Particular Eden: The 1992 Missouri Arts Council Writers’ Biennial and is the co-editor, along with Jeb Livingood, of Best New Poets 2006 (Samovar Press and Meridian).