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Sifting the Visible – Skip Renker

Sifting the Visible – Skip Renker
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Sifting the Visible - Skip Renker
Sifting the Visible – Skip Renker

Paper, saddlestitched, 36 pp
$6.50 plus s&h
1998, ISBN 0-932412-13-0

Skip Renker’s poems are grounded, quiet and elegant, reflecting the thoughtful, humorous and meditative style of the man himself.


Fierce Talisman
by Skip Renker

Sooner or later you will need me.
You’ll be lost. Unfamiliar
trees, thick waxy leaves, a sound
like crying when the wind
kicks up. Press your back
to a trunk. Hold me

to your face with a light
but firm grip, leave
the feathers free. Turn me around
three times. Your body
still stands, but that other
you enters me. Use my eyes,

black blossoms on short stalks,
to see with. Fly up
through the leaves, which close
around your wrists and ankles,
your neck. You must
push through their cries, until

you’re above the forest in the dark,
black wings beating in rhythm
with the movement of the stars.
The dried branches you hold
catch fire. By its light
you might be free, but first

you must burn something, you must.
fly low over the long dry grass.


Skip Renker teaches at Delta College in Central Michigan. He is the author of one previous chapbook, Birds of Passage.