Today's poem is by Eric Pankey

Leave-Taking Above the Missouri

The way out is up, over, through the thistle gate, the
          abrupt bluffs, ten thousand trees,
Harder than the journey in: a spatterdash of leaf-light,
          switchbacks, cold's empty quiver.

We follow the etiquette of leave-taking: each turning
          once to wave,
Then not turning until the other is beyond sight. By
          then we are tired.

We share one heart and in it a spent quarry fills with
I am re-begot of absence, darkness, death, you quoted Donne,
          Things which are not.

Late nights we talked like that. The world was new: the
          raw starlight. The river.
The shape of the shifting sandbar. The third glass of
          wine, it seemed, a finer vintage than the first.

Copyright © 2003 Eric Pankey All rights reserved
from Oracle Figures
Ausable Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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