1. Epitaph

    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.

    by Eric Pankey