Simon Perchik-

Even the colors are anxious, carried
as if its new home above ground
would skimp the way all rows use dirt

cut in two with nothing in between
–you suddenly bring it a darkness
use one hand to comfort the other

though you’ve done all this before
have no faith in mornings :clumps
that want only to forget, just lie still

holding one end close, for a long time
sorted out and unfamiliar fields
taken place to place in flowers

in ribbons, string, thread, something
feeble, tied to the dissolving Earth
by this shadow and your arms.


This rotted log yes and no
longs for the stillness
that is not wood though you

are already inside, seated
at a table, a lamp, clinging
the way all light arrives alone

except for the enormous jaws
once shoreline closing in
without water or suddenness

–you lay down a small thing
and the Earth is surrounded, fed
slowly forehead to forehead again.


Though it gets dark earlier and earlier
you were already weakened at birth
–without a shrug let go things

the way each grave is graced
used to being slowly moved along
blossom and in your mouth

a somewhat pebble half fruit
half sweetened, not yet
broken apart in your throat

–you can’t make out where in the turn
you are clinging to its path
that led you here, not yet strong enough

or longing for some riverside or rain
or the night by night, warm
still falling off your hands.


You fold your arms the way this pasture
gnaws on the wooden fence
left standing in water –make a raft

though it’s these rotting staves
side by side that set the Earth on fire
with smoke rising from the ponds

as emptiness and ice –you dead
are winter now, need more wood
to breathe and from a single finger

point, warmed with ashes and lips
no longer brittle –under you
a gate is opened for the cold

and though there’s no sea you drink
from your hands where all tears blacken
–you can see yourself in the flames.


You drink from this hole
as if it once was water
became a sky then wider

–without a scratch make room
for driftwood breaking loose
from an old love song in ashes

carried everywhere on foot
as that ocean in your chest
overflowing close to the mouth

that’s tired from saying goodbye
–you dig the way the Earth
is lifted for hillsides and lips

grasping at the heart buried here
still flickering in throats and beacons
that no longer recede –from so far

every word you say owes something
to a song that has nothing left , drips
from your mouth as salt and more salt.


Simon 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 B Poems published by Poets Wear Prada, 2016. For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.