Thursday, November 1, 2007

Simon Perchik


It's 3 o'clock though this table
can't take it anymore, marooned
with nothing on it except a bowl

half wood, cold and the lace
that no longer covers the window--
you mop and with one hand

grasp the other, clear a place
for the sea beneath and daylight
floating past, kept empty for shells

broken open as landfall and cobblestones
--all night and the splashing
that comes forward, unable to stop

the bleeding or open your hand
to let go where the floor ices over
where it widens exhausted, still thirsty.


Before there was an evening one arm
was already at home as that nightfall
these headstones count on for balance

grasp at the small weight you drop inside
from habit, still splash though oceans
formed this way before --these slabs

are used to it, leaning against the wind
half marble, half that survive
as another hillside glistening on your arm

kept damp though there's no moon --nothing
will dry all those years falling behind
in a small sea that won't let go.


As if for the last time you let go
the way the sun looks back in sadnes
sand circling down --without a sound

you make a pile from the discarded
and with the warmth still in your hands
you stare at the sky without blinking

though what rises from the ground
is lifeless, sets out on the weaker side
as shadow :a shell kept empty for calm

for leaf by blinding leaf and this smoke
half there, half anchored against the rake
left to rust, no longer struggling

dragged under, exhausted and the light
wears away, becomes air again
holds your mouth open for dirt and gentleness.


This heat still underfoot
reminds you how the sun
would come to your grave's edge

with flowers, with a sky
whose season now is lost
and the listening

that goes on forever.
You can tell from the silence
I'm standing close, my footmarks

stopped --for a while we are both dead.
Who but you would think about daylight
how colors tire so easily here

biding their time, listening
to one foot beside the other
never letting go and the warmth.


Even this tree :a stranglehold
once used for calling you and now
means the night --this low branch
still ruffling feathers
can't recover its faint cry
its warm breeze that shelters you

now that every stone is sealed
is pressed to my lips
as if some trumpet or fountain
or filled with ecstasy
ready this time --even the sun

broken in two and now
your light darkens half the sky
glows over my arms and the moon
that can't look away :this digging

has to stop! the tree can't hold on
--not all its shadow will survive
--these leaves will shatter, the sun
in bits onto the ground and the neighbors
say they can't sleep
are tired hearing about when I find you
and it's already almost morning.

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