Five Poems

By Simon Perchik
*
Embedded and this statue
still tightening its grip
tries to revive the horse
expects its crumbling reins
to smell from leather
and crowding –you squint

the way the general
looks for a small thing
encased in a season
exactly where he left it

waits in the rain
for your black umbrella to open
make room for you
and under the darkness
hold the Earth steady

while his horse works its way
closer to this rain still wet
from the climbing turn
into ice and longing, lost

–its front hooves mid-air
shaking the stone loose
for its likeness even in moonlight
almost breathing, already
side by side that could go on
if it had to.

*
Struck from behind and the Earth
as if you could get away with it
–in the dark this yard

half slush, half mist, thickening
not yet another moon
though the dirt you skimmed off

has lost its hold, lifts
and from the shadow it drained
to make a second sky

only you don’t have an alibi
–you were there –on that night
–beside this stone –plead loneliness

throw both hands into the air
–you’ve got the chance, now! dig
faster, this stone, another

the way each mountain range
can recognize itself in the marsh
in the smoking grass and river beds

–plead emptiness, say
you were building a dam, say
guilty! and fold your arms.

*
The glaze from your stone
shelters this sink, carved
by its constant drip

for shoreline and more foam
–twice every day
I shave to make room

though my beard
never has a chance
trembling in graveyard grass

–I begin each morning
then again by going home
to mow, barely holding on

though each cheek
half blood, half
wandering alone

weighs almost nothing
except for the splash
that clings to your name.

*
Even the dying wince, their stench
makes you gag –you can’t ask
must rely on their skin
and its yellowing glaze
with just enough sunlight left
for directions back

–they languish at night
looking for what must be
those tiny rocks mourners leave
as if the dead could still
find refuge in a few simple words

placed near –the dying need this doubt
to go further, not sure why
their eyes once had such power
and now can’t open to demand

where to make a boundary line
that’s safe once inside
with all those stars, far off
not yet arrived
as still warm dirt and mornings.

*
And though your shadow just by cooling down
dries the way leaves bring back the dead
with not even a footpath
the snow can hold on to –cold

is how galaxies are held in
huddle weightless in the window
closest to the street, empty from the bottom
then wander off in the dark

flecked with gold :a star and its mother
still calling to the others from a window
and what sounds like gunfire
is just more snow throwing out its light

for the circling approach that guides
her shadow safely to the ground
the just above the branches
step by step torn open by their leaves
and on their back the pieces

***

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, FREE E-BOOKS AND HIS ESSAY TITLED “MAGIC, ILLUSION AND OTHER REALITIES” PLEASE VISIT HIS WEBSITE AT WWW.SIMONPERCHIK.COM.
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