I finger each memory as if it were a prayer bead, but each crumbles as salt to the touch.
I look at my hands and count a paper-cut, four calluses, a blood blister.
So much for the epic mode.
All day I make offerings to the shades, wrest whatever clues they cleave to.
All day I make offerings to the shades, steal what would be given freely were I a shade.
—Eric Pankey, from “The Back-Story” in Reliquaries (Ausable Press, 2005)