Simon Perchik

All it takes are these stones
arranged the way the moon
still calms —madness

needs this care, both hands
smoothing the dirt
pushing a sea into place

as if its shore was already there
would recognize what will work
and what doesn't —you restore order

just by bending over a circle
though you can go further
till closer and closer each stone

overflows with hour after hour
pulled from the soothing bottom
as your lips and real water.

It's the lane-to-lane
that throws their aim off
though for other reasons

you can't hold on, the map
too slippery and the climbing turn
is already opened much too wide

—even without the landing lights
the straight line is dangerous
tries to get a bead on you

the way stretchers lift the dead
who want only to move again
—take command! do in-and-out

or what chance do you have
with this constant terror
—a split-second stare

can break the windshield apart
and its slow, sunlit curve
all those years in the making

was not saved, its pieces
laid out as roadway and glass
and that half look over your shoulder

to pass on the silence
you were waiting for, already lowered
into shadow and the wings.

It has nothing to do with flames
but since your shadow comes from the sun
it starts out as silence

already knows in the few hours left
another evening will flow
and once inside your bones

even more restlessness
—the sun will never be content
till it ripens you into someone else

bewitched the way your shadow
breaks with the past, is absorbed
and once in the ground, nourished

safe from predators and over time
even this moon will become a sun
ignited half by sunlight

half at your side while the night
in its sudden joy becomes a morning
you never heard before.

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013). For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.
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