Five Poems

Poetry
Simon Perchik


Photo Credit: Brian Goodwin/Flickr (CC-by-nc-nd)

*

These gravestones left stranded
warped from sunrises and drift
—they need paint, tides, a hull

that goes mouth to mouth
the way seagulls come by
just to nest and preen

though death is not like that
it likes to stand and lean
scattering its brilliant feathers

—look up when you open the can
let it wobble, flow into you
till wave after powerful wave

circles as face to face
and your own loses itself
already beginning to harden.

 

*

You need more, two sinks
stretching out as constant handfuls
though each arm is lowered

by the darkness you keep at the bottom
—a single cup suddenly harmless
not moving—this rattle you hear

is every child’s first toy
already filled with side to side
that’s not the sound a small stone makes

trying to let go the other, stake out
a cry all its own, fill it
on your forehead without her.

 

*

You collect grass the way each star
Eats from your hand, trusts you
To become a nest for the afternoons

Not yet at home in the air, named for nights
That circle down, want to be night again
Take root in your chest as the ripples

From the long stone fallen into the water
Teaching it to darken, to stay
Then smell from dirt then shadows

—side by side you dead pull the ground closer
—with both arms need these whispers warm
already the place to ask about you.

 

*

And though this stone is small
it has more than the usual interest
in the dead, waits among tall grasses

and water holes, smells the way dirt
still warms the afternoons
that no longer have a place to stay

—you leave a nothing in the open
letting it darken to remember
where you buried the Earth

as if the sun could not be trusted
to take back in its light
and by yourself turn away.

 

*

You read out loud the way this bed
listens for the makeshift seam
loosening each night down the middle

and though there is no sun
you peel off page after page
as if underneath what you hear

are her eyes closing—word by word
louder and louder—you think it’s air
that’s falling—everything in your hands

is too heavy, becomes a shadow, covers her
with a single finger pointed at the ceiling light
what’s no where on the pillow or closer.

pencilSimon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent collection is The Osiris Poems published by box of chalk, 2017. For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website. Email: simon[at]hamptons.com

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