Thursday, July 21, 2016

Poetry By Simon Perchik

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013).  For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at 

Another breath and the Earth
stung by a taunted slope
pulling the sky apart –these graves

are useless though your fist
once splashed the ground
the way a stone is needed

opens your hand as hillside
and roads that know why you’re here
sitting on a bench half marble

half in the open, defenseless
smelling from dirt and distances
that only inhale and you

are brushing someone’s face
before it reaches bottom
–what more do you want! a close together

that knows where you’re going
that brings you air to take along
letting you call it by its name.

This handrail sealed, kept hot
for engine oil and holding on
looking for help

though not yet into the turn
as your hand on your shadow
bolted down at the water’s edge

–you make the descent
the way a hidden stream
stretches out and the ground

lets go, cooling your fingers
in drops, in a heaviness
in more and not more.

You test each hole for winter
mixed with seawater
and from a single fingertip

someone near is counting
as if the sky is lit
by campfires and overflowing

that harden into sand not yet
a path for thirst and gravel
needs footsteps that can tear down

a mountain just to move you
further and under its darkness
–you dig, want so little room

no garden, no winding rivers
that slowly come to a stop
as if this time you could

go to bed without the radio on
covering you arm in arm
–you hear your finger bleed

crushed under some rock
floating by to shut out the cold
and from your shoulders the words

though your mouth is empty
longing for dirt, lifeless
taken ashore here somewhere. 

Your shadow spreads across
the way this hillside
once it catches fire cools

half molten rock, half
your usual breakfast, no plate
no table, just a few hours

boiled in beach grass and the smell
mornings once gave off –you
are always lost, moving things

an arm, a foot, until the air
is bitter, has no salt, no smoke
–nothing’s left in you

–even if you want to be alive
this darkness will call you back
is already reaching up, swollen

from emptiness and your throat
opened for paving stones
you don’t know how to narrow down.

Shielding your lips this stone
knows all about winds
living in caves, began

as dust then kept in place
neither mornings or kisses
though there’s still the pieces

a grave here, here more and you
trying to remember how dirt
became your cheeks, caressed

as if rain is just another word
–your only sky left in the open
for its handfuls and hidden flowers

that have forgotten how to breathe
are devouring the mud, mountains
and this ritual water swept away.

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