Literary Yard

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Poems by Simon Perchik

By: Simon Perchik

Hot milk, half with butterflies
and the cup helps you think
what happened happened clearly

letting her blouse open so one breast
cooled before the other though you
are 5 going on 5½, tugging a blanket

from far away as nap time, your fingers
under the good morning, boys and girls
–you stroke this soft rim the way moonlight

once overflowed a bell circling down
emptied the room, her mouth, years
now motionless and between your hands.

Exhausted, you need a corner, gloves
and the way a boxer tapes both fists
these two walls can save you

take hold the paint, this brush
making all the right moves
though the ladder half wobbles

half has a chance to build up each wall
by changing from color to color
–it’s Sunday and once a week

you try to make good its great loss
–with both arms, rope off the room
to reach an end for something

that still comes in and hand over hand
put back as if the bell still works
is used to constant fear and distances.
From inside the boiling tea
and whatever holds it together
you forget once you breathe out

hillside after pitted hillside
already cooling as a small place
that lets the sky darken

find its way into an old love song
left behind for two –you drink
from a still warm glass

whose unmistakable evenings
are making room for someone
lost, no longer held close

or listening for the lips
in each thaw itself, alone
replaced with grieving waters.

Alone in the womb it was your heart
listening for night after night
–even then two ears were not enough

for coming around to hear out the rivers
that would become her breasts, each
holding on, calling the other –with both hands

you make a cup from a thirst
older than clay and darkness, drink
the way all arms are filled with dirt

with fountains and promise –not yet born
and already a tongue shows through
reaching across as the doomed touch

still warm from moonlight and longing
–before you had a mouth you bathed this darkness
over and over as if it too could drink

from kisses :these teeth, the sun
it once was and long ago
lost its shoreline and footing.

You reach in as if this rock
is still beating :each gust
returned the way its shadow

cooled between touching down
and the darkness that would become
stone, spared from why the sun

blew out its planets for something
not yet blood or moving or small
that never leaves, was taught

to embrace, be held though now
it’s a nothing to this lovesick dirt
these two fingers and afterward.


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