portion of the artwork for Simon Perchik's poetry

Five Poems
Simon Perchik

You gargle the way each morning
trusts the soft rustle from a dress
becoming dirt, set out on foot

looking for her in shadows
that no longer move though the sink
is covered with something weak

making believe it’s learned where
your fingers are holding the bottle
in a place not even it will remember

how empty your mouth is, lost
day after day spitting into the Earth
that still opens when you whisper to it.

You water her grave with words
—they never dried, were written
at night, sure this stone

would rot inside the note
though you don’t fold your arms
—what spills has eddies, swells

shorelines reaching into the Earth
no longer certain —this stone
doesn’t recognize itself

is growing roots, sags
becomes a sea, the bottom
holds on, unable to stand

or come closer, cover her
without seeing your fingers
or what it’s like.

Hiding on this tiny rock
its light is falling arm over arm
brought down as hammer blows

and mountains clinging to the sun
the way mourners will gather
and aim for your forehead

—it’s not right for you dead
to lower your eyes once they’re empty
—they have so much darkness

are still looking for tears
and all around you the Earth
splitting open a single afternoon

up close —you are touching seawater
without anything left inside
to take the salt from your mouth.

Between the tall grasses and water holes
the next hiss would be its last
though you splash these iron bars

with no way out and wait
smell from smoke and death
—it’s a cheap grill, made for a backyard

and the need for constant water
as another word for leaving
—you burn with ashes

taking hold the emptiness
to let the fire go
become airborne :a season

among the others, fitted inside
two rivers, close to clouds
where there was none before.

You stir this can before it opens
as the promise a frog makes
when asking for a kiss :the paint

warmer and warmer will become
an afternoon with room for mountains
and breezes close to your shoulder

though that’s not how magic works
—there’s the wave, the hand to hand
spreading out between the silence

and your fingers dressed with gloves
as if it was a burden and the brush
raising your arm the way this wall

needs a color that will dry by itself
leave a trace :a shadow not yet lovesick
no longer its blanket and cure.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 50 | Fall/Winter 2017