Simon Perchik


Even the Earth keeps its clouds
on the move though you have forgotten
all gestures begin with a train

setting out --you expect change
and the constant far-off glow
still trying to connect the nights

with nights once caves and distant herds
--you know how it goes, the grass
was always greener so you sit

let a million years slowly recede
till the ice carries you back
where tracks had already taken root

in silt beginning first as a creek
then trickling toward another
--you can hear the hooves

and along the gravel bed --be sure to wave
touch nothing! let your still cold breath
lie down beside you on its way for water.


And step by step this cane
scratching the way the dead
plant their scepter in the darkness

--they never forget which end
takes hold so you limp along a path
or perhaps your shadow overflowing again

--they rule the ground, commanding it
to rise slowly, let you lag behind
while their castles drag you on

--even here there are nights
warmed by walls and longing
and one knee is always colder

--you make yourself lame
are helped into the turn
years ago pulled down to make room

for the rain that no longer falls for you
only these stones that have the speed
are always in front, taking you back.

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