Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Five Poems by Simon Perchik

As if this tie could slow your fall
--full blown and yet each sleeve
expects the helpless rollover and flames

though your heart knows so little
about how chancy it is to breathe
spewing smoke no longer sea-blue

or dry--all that's left in this shirt
is the surrounding valley
that carries you down--you need more sky

and side to side stretching out
for a rickety bridge--you jump holding on
to a single knot huddled in fog and off course.

This calendar gets its genes, stays put
as if its yellowing pages
have nothing to do with fall

--the paper has already begun to age
though you were a coat to bed
for those cell-to-cell signals

from dry wood taking hold, has the smell
frost makes when clearing the ground
to rest for awhile and your tired eyes

barely able, close to keep warm
no longer move just to move
--it's been years since you stopped

and each morning a grinding sound
disappears ahead, the sun
helplessly trying to melt

now that it's summer and the day-to-day cry
that begins in the Earth
all along reaching away from you.

You're new at this
though in front each window
your eyes close just so far

are not used to a rain
that comes right up against you
won't move even when you make room

once you learn where to look
for the sky, for the shoreline
half gone ahead, half

peeling off and your fingers
clamp on to its sharp turn
covered with sand and thirst and death

--you never know
but this rain is dangerous
has saved its memory for last

put all its strength
in how to circle you down
as days and nights together.

You were so sure!  the boxes
sealed and no one
getting a bead on you

--wherever you're moving
it would be by air--not the kind
that comes from runways

but cardboard, corrugated
where its turbulence is hidden
at least till high enough

safely under your arms
still closing the flaps
and though the wings are taped

they're already breaking apart
held the heading too long
--you thought this place

would last out the month
not burn to the floor
become winds and your emptiness.

There is no tunnel, you crawl
the way a turtle takes hold
and from the sidewalk a dry breeze

smelling from salt and two in the afternoon
--the crowd thinks the cup is for beggars
fill it so the air inside

will rise and you can breathe
one more time:  a tide
lets you survive in the open

though one cheek is dragged
over the other till your mouth
becomes a shell--all you can do

is drink from it
do what skies once did
filled with thirst and emptiness.

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Osiris, Poetry, The New Yorker, and elsewhere.  His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013).  For more information, free ebooks and his essay titled "Magic, Illusion and Other Realities" please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.

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