portion of the artwork for Simon Perchik's poems

Six Poems
Simon Perchik

Step by step :some key
will fit and the ground
open, my shoe
enter the Earth through a twist
and emptiness —this stone
is homeless now, loosened
—you think it’s time, the small hole
beginning and the light
exactly where it left off
will visit this stone, give it a name
a garden, let it grow tall in one place
—you think it’s a path under my shoe
and with each step more stones
line up against each side :a great sea
breaking in half, half you
half me breathing into the ground, calling
and my throat bends backward
forward, breaking in half and you
think it must be morning, begin
from the bottom, filling my heart
with underground streams
till I too am the river, the sea
and under the shore more kisses, our mouths
at last by themselves.

*

As if they were just born, my kisses
nesting in your ear, their throats
trembling —what you hear
were birds, famished and the Earth
turns into the wind that bends
and still more dirt into your mouth
—it’s all I can do
kisses, with small, black feathers
with lips almost bone —what you hear
were hillsides spreading out, their wings
still damp, pressed to the ground
—you hear the light skimming across
my forehead and the soft chafing
wearing down your face
—I can’t recognize your lips
or where these tears are coming from —I just
reach in, filling your ears with gusts
and the feeble height over your breathing.

*

Two syllables :the curve
where her name can turn homeward
and the path take on the shape
the spiral working its way
—you see the name bend
leaving your eyes
for the ice that trembles between your hands
and rivers sinking into the Earth
—in your arms her name and its shadow
has a forehead, made from iron
—you can’t lift it closer, kneel
till no light enters or leaves
—two sounds that have no sound
but the longing for the small feathers
that flutter past your lips
shake the sky loose and in your arms.

*

Between these two fingers the air
smells from petals and air
and nothing touches anything
—without a sound, without their lips
and the dead still eat without hands
scraping their lips
against that goodbye whose arms
are always empty, its stillness
all they hear in those few seconds
and their heart growing colors
—between my fingers a door
almost ashes now open to the cold.

*

Five :a season is missing
tossed from where the sky stays dark
and the sun whose twin once fit
between winter and the Earth —a great stone
is waiting, broken into mist and shadows
—when you raise just one arm its pieces
flow back and your heart
fills with omissions, outlines
and the arm, upright from where
the night has hardened —you offer the sky
this foundation stone
now almost round and your arm trembling
breaking off place to place
trying to find a breath that matches the ground
tries and though the dead are still covered
the sunsets are cooler now, worn out, far off
—how like the shadow that kneels with you
resigned to your sudden leaps —you almost believe
this grey stone will burst, shining
across your other arm and the lost.

*

Bells know this, they have so much room
till nothing is forgotten —from far away
the clear sound, weightless
filled with darkness —the dead
are at home there, their ears
are their mouths and a song sometimes sweet
sometimes my fist battering a great stone
—it’s the song
stored under walls
as sometimes a nod, the slightest change
will cover the heart with ice
—you had clear eyes
—even your gentleness hasn't changed
struck by hammers this song
finds you easily —from so far off
our tears long ago lost their blood
go on weeping and the death
that lasts forever —we listen for sound
as if rain will come with the sound
mornings made, evenings made and once
we tried to fly by singing, sang
and bells were taking it all down.


Return to Archive




FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 30 | Fall 2010