THE COLD WAR /Eric Pankey My mother nods off. A lit cigarette Elegant between her long fingers. The arm of the divan riddled with burns. Lightning, out of sync, preens the maple. What is the square root of yesterday? How did I solve for the door ajar? There's no end to it, my father would say. My mother nods off. A lit cigarette Elegant between her long fingers. The burns like islands on an oily sea, The obsolete map of an archipelago Where the Bomb was tested year after year. There's no end to it, my father would say And ask me to warm up his drink. The unknown, the variable we call if. Upholstery smoulders more than it flames. Lightning, out of sync, preens the maple. The Missouri Review · 59 BYGONES/ Eric Pankey What is the past but everything: The not-there between memory And foreground, between suffering And a moment's hardened amber? Still, each word gives way to silence And I must reinscribe this scrawl, This impermanent graphite ghost As signature on these torn scraps. In the end I will be voiceless. The earth that held me down will hold Me once again, unforgiven, Without a
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Oct 5, 1999
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