by 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.

As if the paint poured across
could stave off rot, circle down
though this gate heads back

once it leaves your arms –by itself
whitening the trees already stone
certain you will come here forever

bring twigs, let them sweeten
soften on the ground you bite into
struggling to float, unable to breathe

or unfasten her skirt —your mouth
oozing the way mornings arrive
to dry, kept moist by these dead

and berries dressed as roots and grass
surrounded, filled with the taste
from her eyelids not yet flowers.

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.

You reach for lullabies, left over
and the slow crawl half whispers
half where your lips ache, float

the way this empty cup still wobbles
will break apart, overloaded
disguised as two steps closer and alone

then fill your arms with its darkness
seeping through, breathing out
not yet an embrace, not yet the mouth

where your fingers end, surrounded
by more and more dirt, a small room
here, there, there, not yet asleep.

It’s never dry —another gust
though this elevator is carried
the way you count backward

for hours and the door flies open
lets in a sea half hillside
half rising through the floor

–you walk in to sleep, begin
with the sound sand makes
when scattered for footprints

still following the silence
between 10, then 0, pressed
against your face —tides

are used to this, start out
to forgive, then lay down
as emptiness and a home.

Photo credit

About Simon Perchik

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Poetry, 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 and his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities,” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.

Simon Perchik

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