Untitled Sequence

Its arms still around her, this dirt
clings between what’s left behind
and the rain –-its stones stare back

can’t make out the fingers nearby
easily yours and with each handful
something that is not her forehead

just the over and over nearness
you pull closer and with your mouth
welcomes this dirt, covers it

the way any helpless wound is kept moist
and on her cheeks, something later
no longer remembers, barely dry.


It’s coal you’re after, the part
that burns the way evenings
still grieve in place

–you count on it to heat these dead
though in that darkness
half nightfall, half

no longer warm, came
to a standstill
already rolled into one

shaped by the split-second
that opens all stone, stays
forever in its pieces

–you collect promises :rocks
owe you something
will break apart, take hold

as the whispers they once were
though black is the something
that’s extra, that delivers

regroups and even in sunlight
touches your cheek, unsure
helps you remember.


You reach for this face cloth
the way every bridge is built
reminds the dead –sway

though water is older than sunlight
older than rain and wave after wave
–you have so many mouths, drink

from a rag carried across
as shoreline and someone’s death
–so much cloth, clinging to water

that waits for its darkness
for your touch, breathless
in secret, tighter and tighter.


Its ink is heavier at night
though you can still hear the hum
from some sea already faint
when sunlight too was black
lost, floated lifeless

–you still write to her
piecing word to far-off word
till their darkness escapes
sleepless, so close to your arms

–a single wave pulls the others in
brings down each page before it dries
into dirt and forgetting
lowers one evening more
that will weigh too much.


This door half flowers
half wood in back some horse
dripping with saliva
wishes it was born dead

–the knob won’t turn
though the sun’s nearby
exhausted, wobbles
the way even light
withers, reaches an end
limps till the room
fits between your jaws

–they never let go
still drink from a bowl
that doesn’t move anymore
bends open for dirt
as if you had no thirst
no arms left or side to side.

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” and a complete bibliography, please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.