Simon Perchik-

They have learned to feast
the way all blooms die out
return hours later, warmed

and under her breasts the low light
nourishes your fingers with shade
beginning again as twins –two tongues

two throats gutting each breath
below it one mouth
is filled with the other

that has no place else to go
weighs so little, pulled close
for the flowers that have nothing to do

with your hands barely in place
grown huge from covering the weeks
the days, years –with your eyes shut

–with this dampness taught not to sleep
push nothing away –with each hand
overflowing its banks and closing.

_______________

This stone bending over you
bulges with moons, craters
brought closer for more darkness

enlarged the way its arch
spreads out and gradually
a second horizon helps you track

how far before each night
gives up its faith in steppingstones
covers your grave

as if a footbridge this smooth
is as simple as turning a corner
hidden with hours and distances.

_______________

So there will be no distraction
you shower at night, your hands
kept cold as the same sound

snow breaks off bit by bit
whose only defense is to melt
and rock is now so rare

–the pebbles you saved
you bathe, hold under, hide
for hours in falling water

though there’s no light left
or the cry from your arms
around and around in pieces

half rain, half the sky
crushed against this frost
no longer burning or a place.

_______________

Before taking root this darkness
was hollow –you could hear its echo
become a second sun, half moonlight

half pole to pole as a single ocean
drained softly at night –at what depth
did it bend the Earth toward evenings

lengthen them, let your hand curve
the way sea birds still lift one wing
into morning and home –at what garden

was this shoreline born, leaving the sea
to itself, listening for flowers, islands
and in your arms its sadness.

_______________

It’s winter inside this string
kept white –on its own
to put your heart back

though each goodbye
returns to the surface
as ice and the sudden glow

that tightens knot after knot
the way this box was covered
with corners and step by step

and along a single finger
the blood you think is yours
is endless and sent.

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

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