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Simon Perchik Five Poems



Empty and the sand

follows you along Broadway

as if some dampness

was left for shoreline

moves the IRT up

then down the way clammers

use their feet to rake

— you walk on tracks

careful not to miss

while the train underneath

breaks open its doors

all at once — no, you don’t jump

nothing like that

— these shells are the same

the mad feel for

though their sweat takes the place

water grieves into

and their mouths are the same

let you yell down

and not a mark inside your body

to call you by.



Leaning against the wall

it becomes a death bed

the way a name on paper

flattens out to take hold

for which there is no word

only a room where no one noticed

you didn’t ask for help

so close to the corners

with the light still on.





You fold this sweater the way a moth

builds halls from the darkness it needs

to go on living — safe inside this closet

a family is gathering for dinner, cashmere

with oil, some garlic, a little salt, lit

and wings warmed by mealtime stories

about flying at night into small fires

grazing on the somewhere that became

the out-of-tune hum older than falling

— you close the drawer and slowly

your eyes shut — with both hands

make a sign in the air as if death matters.



This slope broken loose

cracks the way all ice

rises from a single stone

though below the tree line

just her grave

already has a twin

— two mouths, easy to spot

not yet the mountain range

she would sip if it was water

could leave the hollow

the underbrush, mouthful

over mouthful, talk

sit across from you

while her words no longer move

are in the way and colder.





And though the Earth lets you dig

it’s your tears that heat the ground

already growing stars

once the darkness covers it

to lure these dead here

with stones scented with shorelines

returned not as rain but grass

just as it was, closing in from all sides

the way this shovel is warmed

by your hands kept wet, pulled

closer — you cling to this dirt

as if it once was an afternoon

knows only the slow descent

hand over hand into stone

that no longer opens to hear the bleeding.



            Simon Perchik

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