portion of the artwork for Simon Perchik's poetry

Five Poems
Simon Perchik

Again one hand, side by side
clawing at your throat
–there’s an egg inside

that can’t come out, sheltered
by the darkness boiling over
till it was time, in ruins

–what you swallow
is snow, a single pill
falling the way all fevers

are healed by moonlight
reaching into your mouth
as a stone not yet breathless

with room for her to sit on
close to the ground
helping and the corners.

You button this sleeve the way smoke
is trained –a sudden shrug
and the night moves under you

can’t see you’re still on your feet
and though they no longer fit
the ground is already a crater

where her shadow would have been
holding on from behind
as a clear, moonlit dress

and the last thing you saw left open
as the slow, climbing turn
that’s still not over.

It was first a parade and your heart
facing forward, covered with medals
flags and flowers huddled inside

called up :this graveyard was built
from the light that comes on foot
and no longer moves, is dressed

in the same uniform its dead wear
though the small stones you leave
have not yet fallen out the shoe

with a hole in it, stay in place
at attention, wait to go along
bring grass, afternoons, begin to walk.

To listen you work this bowl
and each evening crouch
with your lips in all directions

wrapped around a warming spoon
near, nearer to the side she slept on
filled with sharp corners

and lower your forehead, let the soup
cool –you swallow a bed, are fed
on windswept fires, the sound

that has become the mouth
you’re drowning in –arm over arm
making room for her and lower.

You lick and each finger straightens
though it’s this seedy monument
that’s weakening, leaning down

to hear where the wind is coming from
is carving out more shoreline –by itself
bathing this homesick stone

till its shadow softens, overflows
with summer nights and bird cries
nesting on rooftops, still alone

calling for its slow turn to climb back
into mountainside, be washed
wingtip to wingtip with a small mouth.

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Magic, Illusion, and Other Realities

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 53 | Spring/Summer 2019