Five Untitled Poems
by Simon Perchik

You reach in as if this rock
is still beating :each gust
returned the way its shadow

cooled between touching down
and the darkness that would become
stone, spared from why the sun

blew out its planets for something
not yet blood or moving or small
that never leaves, was taught

to embrace, be held though now
it’s a nothing to this lovesick dirt
these two fingers and afterward.

With a single blow, taken down
though this wooden frame
was once above the treeline

where nothing struggles or drains
or keeps the air from thinning out
as snow filled with empty spaces

– it’s your usual photograph
clears your fists the way a boxer
is walked to the nearest corner

in time for your forehead to dry
put to your mouth a likeness
yell at the wood, at the glass, the jaw.

And the river falling into you
lies down the way you are fed
by stones that no longer open

as rain and your breath
never seen again, left in the dirt
these graves are used to

is all they know –with each meal
a far off night bursts into flames
once it’s singled out, fills your mouth

as if it would not happen twice
and yet you eat only in cemeteries
in a sea whose water has dried

to become for the dead
a new language, easy to whisper
over and over and the heading.

Another fold though the paper
is already clogged, scented
with granite –this endless letter

lies down exhausted, spaces
appear over and over
then emptied by hand

– it happens every time, the ink
dries without lips, no mouth
nothing between this page

and the hour after hour
where every word is her name
wants it down in black and white

left in the open the way you learned
to speak through stone, whisper
as if you were still living.

You crumple this hat the way a hole
changes color, is held in place
lets your forehead hide, circle down

end over end setting fires –what you try on
no longer smells from rain or stays
or turned low in the mirror

remembers to burn in the open
as the sound falling from dirt
and broken loose though you walk away

just to walk away :a damaged toss
with less than there were
no longer over your shoulder or done.

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