The Side Effects of Mimicry by Eric Pankey


What can be said of the somber boulevard
Of pollarded trees, all elbows and knuckles?
Or, for that matter, the right-angled
Geometry of the houses? The cyclical return to realism?
How can one capture the underlying melancholy
Of mimicry, without specific reference to it?
Above it all, in the upper right hand corner,
A milky passage of blue to suggests sky.
Although cancelled on the calendar with an X,
The day, continuing with its inevitable logic,
Bristles like the rich burr of a dry point line.
The trees seem victims of a methodical violence.
Wind moves in and around them, but the trees do not move.


Eric Pankey is the Heritage Chair in Writing at George Mason University. A new book, AUGURY, is forthcoming in 2017 from Milkweed Editions.