Simon Perchik

Three Poems

Or paying off someone :each funeral
once only at night, the hearse
still black and along side
another shadow :the witness
closest to the wheels, holding fast
swells then withers
then stretches out :each breath
begins with a few words in your ear.

You dead contradict only in whispers
are still in doubt about these trees
and the soft sound falling into snow
into those small stones
already taking root, that grow
only in winter, in mouths.

Everything you do is whisper.
There are no wings on birds anymore
and everything falls into this ground
as if it were a sea and your shadow
set adrift among the calls from seabirds
one behind the other —you dead

go everywhere in crews
and though I rode with the others
I leave unprotected, afraid which shadow
is yours, slowly from its continuous night.


Even the sun, overwhelmed
by your grey suit :mask
stiff, deadlocked
and its invisible black thread
that moans, slowly, steady

though it's the custom at gravesites
after one lapel's cut open
as if the dirt would know
could see there's one more
and the razor —the same dark suit

you wear in bed, hiding everything
except your face and still you can't sleep
—3 in the morning you phone 411
for information, for a voice
you don't see, that could be made
from a stone or a shadow

—you begin to stink, to study your bones
giving them names, calling them
to windows you don't open
and on the sills small stones

and around your arms the dark jacket
falling into some night that's full
—you hear the waves asking you closer
whispering There's no such number
no one by that name.


...the final piece tonight... and the Earth
made whole -the announcer slows, signs off
by lowering her voice, then Mahler
to help her with the dead ...will leave the air...

for its underworld and we be swept
over that silence, downstream, washed
in a darkness that stays, has no breath
or place to grow though by morning

one hand is always colder, swollen -all night
one arm weaker -you too have held your hand
and against the other hear the ground
give way and always that song older
than darkness -you too
deeper, deeper till nothing but the voices.

By morning you reach for the wall
as if it were the sun, would rise
and the blanket a great wing again
bright feathers and the last piece

take hold :the sky the size every child
will recognize in the dark :the cold mouth
that's hidden again and the voices
the boneless song
carried by children not yet dead.

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. Rafts (Parsifal Editions) is his most recent collection. For more information, including his essay “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” and a complete bibliography, please visit his website at www.geocities.com/simonthepoet.

previous page     contents     next page



Post a Comment

<< Home