Tuesday, April 11, 2017

National Poetry Month Day 11: Simon Perchik

Simon Perchik's poetry has also appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, The New Yorker and elsewhere. 

You still feel for skid marks
though your shadow is flat on its back
holds fast between the ground and evening

as if there’s room for your hands
and the darkness that’s not a wall
once it’s left to itself

–not a scratch! and underneath
you skim off sideways
end over end the way rain

protects itself, escapes
in the dripping sound its edges
can’t stop in time without falling off.

And you still stutter
though between her lips
it’s always night

or years from now
–the stars not yet alongside
have no seasons

brought this far
in the same darkness not even she
can remember wearing

as if it could fold back
by itself as mornings and waiting
–after all, how much more

can this dirt breathe in
before someone stops by
who’s lost, has forgotten why

only now it’s winter
that has something to do
with coming back and her arms.

You piece one night into another
as if these constellations
would leave nothing to chance

and the sky you play it safe with
stay black waiting for air
by not counting, though this time

for flames that fit exactly
lock on the way letters from home
are saved in a metal box

to complete the picture –all night
under the kitchen table you shuffle cards
and some mindless jigsaw game unfolds

on the cold floor, trying to remember
those stars all together
their first morning and their last

though the Earth is covered
with this breeze still taking away
the only thing that matters.

Agreed! The firm handshake
wipes it dry the way one reef
irons things out with another

circles down as your shadow
already seawater, homesick
and the exact spot it remembers

–that’s the deal, you
become rain while this stone
is run backwards, girlish again

touching everything and the dirt
comes loose, floating past
not yet sunlight and side by side.

Step by step half marble
half backing away
and though the struggle was fierce

this graveyard still depends on you
pulling it closer the way silence
has always followed

and went on from there
–you’re dragged by hillsides
not yet flowers, not yet thrown

helplessly lifting your hands
without thinking
or their darkness.

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