You wipe the way the moon
once warmed the Earth
caressed your arm

with shapelessness
and the fever left over
from some fiery beginning

half shoreline, half
waves still flaring out
staking their claim

and memory –inside this path
a brain, left behind
to deal with the scent

smoldering leaves give off
–you sniff for stars
that have no light yet

only the fragrance stones replace
endlessly cover the dead
with leaves and these dried flowers

everywhere burning in small piles
–what you smell is a smoke
that can only remember.

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The New Yorker, Poetry, The Nation, Southern Humanities Review, and elsewhere. For more information, including his essay, “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities,” visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.

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