“Two Children Threatened by a Nightingale” (Eric Pankey)

Attentive as one is to a whisper, the children wade through standing water, uncertain of its depth or source. They find and salvage a sogged train schedule. For their short lives the depot has been boarded shut. One has a flair for death and can fashion a noose from corn silk. One keeps an archive of diaries. One is the movie extra a camera seeks out, lingers on. One reads the subtitles aloud before the characters speak. One imagines sleep to be a furnished room. One imagines rain on the rolled hay, the must of empty stables, the tin-edge of blood on the tongue. By schema and classifications, they are a sister and a brother. Waylaid between this puddle and the next, one creates a theory of the spectral. One fingers through a cache of candies. One is plump and ready for the oven. One could not even flavor a stock pot. One is the overlooked subject. One is a language of mishearings. They cling to the hitherto unknown. When they dissect the bird they find nothing of the song.

—Eric Pankey
—found in Bat City Review

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