Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By: Simon Perchik

To remind you how long before white
becomes invisible –you fold this dish cloth
over and over as if each splash

is wiped with a cry making room
the way an old love song turns the world
still from inside, lowers it into this sink

though you reach down for the arm
that was everything –it’s a ritual
where after every meal you become a hermit

heard only as the voice that’s missing
was waiting under the faucet
while you blow each word out

could hear its light weaken, disappear
though you sit in a small room
with a hole in it, stripping a cup naked

pressing it closer, louder and louder
already gone which means a sea
boiling your hands in its ashes.

You learned to spill by breathing out
make room for the warm marrow
that gives this pot its power

lures you closer, has you sit
looking inside, see how water
begins and ends in darkness

as the thirst that’s used to wood
and longing –spoon after spoon
you stir the way each night now

overflows with your mouth open
and no one to sit around this table
no one to tell what you lost.


And though this dress never dries
it must sense the clothesline knows
there’s a change in the lighting

–it’s your usual rope, lit
by some long ago moon coming back
as a sea, mouth open, smells from salt

from a dress with no hem, no sleeves
no lips where here thighs would be
floating the way each wash fills your arms

with something small made from wood
is holding her night after night and you
breathing what air was left in the water.

And though the sun was chosen
it’s your lips heating the ground
the way this startled mid-summer fire

spits from its belly the smoke it needs
to teach its young to fly alongside
as charred wood from a spot

being lowered for the afternoon
–you can tell by its weight
where the light comes from –a room

a table, a mouth spreading around
something damp that is not her lips
stays with her the way each night

longs for the sea to cover the sun
after it dies on this beach as the word
for an emptiness that sorts the ashes.

You knock as if her headstone
knows forever already ended
though where there was a dress

a flower with nothing in it
presses against your lips
connects to everything else

that’s falling through the Earth
as shards from that last tap
where a door should be

would open and these pebbles
barter like they once did
as the one breath more, gently

softly –a mouth for a mouth
is how it sounds :an avalanche
on its way back up, taking you along.

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