SIMON PERCHIK

*
They will sleep there, kept down
as if your arms are alongside
falling back and you gag

the way each breath is dried
with washrags and mops
and this towel’s not the same, it’s

too huge and the Earth
is forever covered with snow
left for later –you lag behind

almost in whispers
in ice along roots and rivers
no longer holding on

or falling between, caressed
–your arms are enough, they
don’t close anymore.

*
Not yet finished melting :the sun
–you can hear its sea struggling
spilling over though each morning

it comes from behind now
brushes against this cemetery gate
that’s still shining, floating past

–to this day you go home
the back way –you don’t see
your reflection or the ground

face to face with shoreline
–what you hear are waves: one hand
reaching for another and in the dark

you let your fingers unfold end over end
then close, gather in these fountains
as if they belong one side then another

are nearly too much stone –here
where this gate is filling its lungs
and you tearing it in two.

*
Again The Times, spread-eagle
the way these subway doors
once were waves opening out

as the faint wings beating now
between your arms and the track
–a dark, single thread

pulls this sea under
though on the bottom
you can’t be sure it’s morning

or two shorelines, side by side
crawling into that slow, climbing turn
half sand, half you never get used to

–page over page
covered with weeds :feathers
from a long way off –you can touch

their darkness :words still dangerous
circling with seabirds :your eyes
don’t want you, are closed.

*
Lower and lower this fan
smells from stone and the ice
broken off your forehead

still in the same, tight turn
holding on, almost back –you stare
even with sunglasses, the ones

you wear at funerals, cooled
the way this small room
has already started as snow

not yet the invisible arm in arm
louder and louder overhead
without a trace and no place to go

to harden, take hold, darken
let its wings down, close
your eyes and the ceiling.

*
Appearing and disappearing, this gate
you wave between one hand
after the other and doves on cue

break through the way each flourish
opens midair, is helped along
clearing the rooftops, palms up

–on your back as the aimless path
that has such low windows
–from nowhere, no longer white

each stone is closing its wings
letting go the sky, the graves
and just as suddenly your shoulders.

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2 Responses to SIMON PERCHIK

  1. Mr. Perchik- I’ve read your poems and have appeared in print with you over the course of the last couple of decades and have also been a fan. I wrote a pretty bad poem about your using * as the titles of many or most of your poems and then threw it out. One day, I’d like to meet you. If you ever get to South Florida, please look me up. My e-mail is lenny.dellarocca@mail.com

  2. Vanessa says:

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

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