Simon Perchik: Five Poems

*
Inside this statue’s mouth its tongue
was run aground the way wave after wave
each fossil still hears itself becoming stone

and though the sea is just now taking place
your headstone says the darkness helps
 ̶ there’s nothing else, the voice you hear

is yours, again and again from your lips
as boundary stones, half sealed in the ground
half on all sides the years to come

as some hillside that no longer has its ballast
on the lookout, that waits for a wider shore
hemmed in, using the time over and over

to tighten around those bottom stones
mourners use to bring you nothing that moves
that feeds you salt, was brought by boat.

*
The rag you fold into a loop
knows better, flattening out
where a window should be

though night after night its soot
lifts off the way piece by piece
a sleeve empties into your hand

as moonlight  ̶ it was a dress
motionless, waiting at the wall
for her arm, the usual talk.

*
As if the sun was lost again, its light
crashing into this hillside already covered
with empty bottles, cans and the foul breath

left by a small fire after things didn’t work out
 ̶ your eyes still smoldering from nights
with enough rainfall for you to come back

healed by tears, by your  footsteps wiping dry
what dirt falls from your mouth
as something certain, could be counted on.

*
Every night now you circle the same lamp
become weightless though the bulb
is burning through a gap in the wires

the way madness arrives as darkness
and shoreline  ̶ the usual maneuver
 ̶ you reach in for the light

not yet struck by a wall kept waiting
for the sound that has no place to go
hears where the sun is buried

still breathing, lit, over and over
reaching for salt from the emptiness
in this room heated by a bed

and what’s left from a window
to put out the wound
reeking from ashes and cloth.

*
Too early? Even so, the sun
is backing out though this orchard
was already tilted into Autumn

by the flowers mourners use
to lower one season closer to another
the way every death here

begins as two :an added weight
that heats your forehead
till it touches where the ground

listens for the motherly darkness
made from stone that arrived
as two evenings at once, made heavier

for the kiss beginning a few feet away
still warm, not yet November
is leaving your face thinner, more like bones.


Simon Perchik‘s poetry has appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, The New Yorker, and elsewhere.

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