Simon Perchik
Simon Perchik


Who knows, with his mouth wide
--nightmares are so huge
--they risk the thirsty
who want always some rescue
and meaning from the ground --open

and his lips carried
as if their river had left
still saying goodbye
still hugging the empty dirt --asleep

who knows why a dream
will come with a grievance
break open his skull
just to yell and thrash around
because his jaw was slack, too slow
tried to hide how the dead
close their lips, are spared.

It does no good to imitate stone
or the soft cry lost in a well
--night after night coming back
and his mouth darker than ice

--who knows, you only see the teeth
the man losing himself
in a great sea filled with frenzy
--jaws full throttle and in his belly
cold air, sharp rocks --by morning

something that sounds like waves
will fall between his words for food
--he will bathe his arms
the way those birds in the parks
fly into the redeeming wind
into that torrent pulling them upward
--he will reach outside
as if there was a bench
a fountain, some crumbs.


As if goodbye has thorns
-your child's lips already flush
though it will be years
before she adds lipstick

and her sleeves begin to flow
with heels higher, higher
-a huge wave moving her hair
the way the sun opens up

for more light -your each kiss
will lose its hold, fall on its back
from not enough air -a deep breath
and by now your child knows

to lift both arms toward you, almost
touching the horizon, almost
the rushing water she doesn't see yet
or hear or the waiting -you will bring

more and more gifts, dolls
stuffed animals to take along
that find the way
once they're held close -like lips

like arms, like the stars
she will pull outloud from her throat
and the breathing carry her away
through space, through stones

and your eyes she will leave unburied
pierced, heavier -later. For now
it's enough she's learned
how her dark red tongue

can touch her lips, how already
some words are warmer
than when her hair lifts to the side
-she has your eyes.



Stone after stone this overburdened candle
clinging to its tears, its mountains
that smell from tides
from far off blue :a final wave
hardening midair, its sea all night

falling into dew --I light this candle
as if it expected you, lift it
and the solitary Earth get a better look
--all these stones and yet their winds
are far away, always far and never moving.

No. It's not that at all.

I try to watch how the mountain range
brightens when my hand lets go your breast
--its great light everywhere
and the graceful rivers to taper it
the way coastlines are carried off
by seabirds stretching out
and prairie grass half thunderclap
half rock, boundless and flowing.

No, not that either. You dead stay wet
each match tormented, slowly
and along this sandpaper strip
with its box scratched open, helplessly blue
--between your lips a still damp flame
let out :your breath sharp, certain, lit
held tight in my fist.

their heat can't strangle what's left
from a light older than water
half remembered, half falling now
as dried-out breezes, rock
no one has ever seen, overflowing.