Simon Perchik


You can forecast the rain, this Frisbee
overhead though one hand
is always weaker, holds on

the way your belly makes room
for flames, for lower and lower turns
that help you see in the dark

while the Night Star leads the others down
to drink in safety --a great herd
all night thinning out the air

higher and higher, higher and wider
and because the darkness is still water
you can't hear the sun closing in

crack open the smallest stones
for their light weaker by the hour
--it's a now-or-never toss

--you ask too much! it's not some ship
from space --it's a game for beginners
--you grip the Frisbee and the Earth

still can't keep its balance
is coming toward you as shadow
half way up, tightening around

your waist, closer and closer
around the fire inside
you were saving for feathers and later.


It's time! the ache side to side
and across your forehead
the wrinkles split open

--the cramp comes into this world
as the tightening grip
that has your eyes, your cry

takes you by the hand
the way its shadow falls
exhausted, in pain and now

two mouths to feed though one
is still invisible and you
are never strong enough

to lift it, to bathe it
as if it needed lullabies
would grow into your arms

held up to be carried
one next to the other
--what you hear in the ground

is the cry birds have, made crazy
from watching the sky forever
hold down the Earth though this rake

leaves nothing intact, its handle
half unnoticed, half
from behind, holding on, held

by the still damp dirt
floated out for more room
that enters from somewhere

and everything around you
backwards and forwards, covered over
with eggshells and emptiness.


They have no second thoughts
and still your footprints
inch by inch, gradually

made whole the way this shovel
lost its taste for dirt
carries in only snowfall

leaves its own reason at home
for a room that stays
close by, becomes those skies

one by one, done for, dives
on every path night first
--you dig for worms

as if one would tell you
or show you, or move your hand
or with the light off

a kamikaze cry for light
--you have no return
and step by step no morning.


Its plume half green
half the way each leaf
lowers its head to drink

while this shaky window
keeps cool in the cellar
--for weeks its glass

rising, finally breaks through
though there's no waterfall
no raging flood or downstream

only cold air as if the dead
can be lulled to these shelves
sweetened by soaps, by boxes

and jars and cans
and nothing floats anymore
except what's hollow

once had water inside
where this underworld
whose steps are wood

rises leaf by leaf
from the sea
every wave is looking for

and though these pipes
were thrown about
between the docks and hulls

nothing's changed
--it's cold and you forgot
who you came down running for.


It's hopeless! every nail
exhausted, falls over
as if the treeline

--there's not enough air
though the hammer, half
relentless, half turning back

the way all rescue begins
just below the horizon
for leverage --Casey

the nail you lift up
can be used again
--a second try to hold together

the same sky, familiar now
--there's hope --darkness
is what you're learning

for when a warm breeze
bends down to cup your hands
around the evening star

you will soon wait for
till all that's left to breathe
is a love song, one after another

--you pull out this nail
as if it were a flower
maybe tomorrow, would become

your voice, already scented
and in your arms
a beautiful woman is listening.