portion of the artwork for Simon Perchik's poetry
Five Poems
Simon Perchik

With no ink and the nib
learning to dry
as shadows and a dark room

—what you stroke are the words
before they turn black
then emptiness, then

yet her name
is not something you dig for
then row by row

so this page on each side
stays damp from dirt
covered with fingers

—you almost point
though nothing moves
not these walls, not

what would reach around
hid from your arms
—this pen and in the margin

a wooden handle
squeezed tight —drop by drop
swallowed the world.

*
These piles hold back :each finger
embraced the way darkness
covers a sky no longer needed

and what you breathe out
stays black till it cools
closes and overhead the dirt

shades you though clouds
left in the open are useless now
pulled along behind these bars

used to hands growing huge
in sunlight, in this makeshift prison
filling with mist and shovels.

*
These blades changing course
veer the way all tears
cut off, half scrap, half

make it back as glass
—don’t let the rain fool you
or look for the edge

by coming against another
so no one can see the reeking
from engine oil and faces

wiped from between your fingers
though every breeze calls out
for caress, keeps dry

as if by itself
it could park this car
tighter and tighter and when you touch

it’s the silence that seems familiar
a curvature made from
nothing’s there, nothing’s working.

*
These dead still need pills
though the one rock you leave
no longer reaches star to star

—what they swallow is mist :a sea
with its arch dissolved in this black dust
brought back for silence and them

—it could be done, already these graves
are monstrous, all mouth, all lung
and arm in arm begin to flower

overflow the trees, the fruit, the dew
with one more stone to weigh down
the so much coughing

—it’s how they breathe :a tiny flower
with just enough force
undone for thirst and their eyelids.

*
Your eyes are covered with grass
with paths living inside my bones
as waterfalls and distances

though everything I say
you mistake for gestures
or when you walk slowly
—it’s been too long! What you see
has no snow, no between us
you can grip as if it was yours

buried with me the way each path
is fed the narrowness beneath
and overflows, trading places
even now, even when you leave
holding on to shadows and your arms
become an open sore.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 41 | Summer 2013