Simon Perchik

Three Poems

From this lacquered dish
as ponds still sip for silt, the bride
lifting its shallow water :their first meal

has no salted edge, the dark tea
cools though there’s no tide
yet, no shadow broken off
as the haggard have always been unwanted

–what lifts this first day from the world
are the fingers
foraging this black dish
flowered like an avalanche
–even her heart must yell to be heard

and the sun appear :a ceremony
older than light –it’s the lifting
the part where the water
where she must drink
to never forget the gesture :the scent
from the first heart

–I kiss
to close the hole in my chest, amazed
there is a seam to her gown
and the column each song makes
dancing back to facelight
to melons and apples bubbling
over this first day from the world

and her groom
as a shield will flicker its chinks and dents
suddenly takes her hand, this small dish

pouring on their fingers :again dark leaves
bathed to stain all hope and the world.


Again the birds hide –it’s waves
that are flying, that saw my mast
hauling away the Earth
–a hole struck my roof
and these joists again
dripping like the ribs Jonah cursed

–no bird noticed
though the notes in my throat
even the rain understands
and answers :the leak
meaty :a nest for a wasp
almost ready to sing like other birds
to eat without being cursed and bloodied

–for such a birth the sky
fills first, I climb
with blankets, milk, prepare my attic desk
–the wasp at least be taught like the hawk
to plumb, baptize its kill
to bang its head till the joists
tighten the roll in and out the sharp cornice
the sunken dark

then up and up and up
that it might hear its feathers –no bird
moves in or dives past
to teach the angle and the rate
–only these waves flying
from an Earth towed half under
listing, battered, swamped
as a migrant drenched on a ledge
will drift off from the crowd
from the grasping loneliness
that warps even water

–for such a beginning the rain
leans down instinctively
nursing these beams as if new leaves
would reach, hungry and fierce
and this wasp almost ready
almost a green song its tongue
already afraid to drink, to listen
afraid, as if making paper

–for such a beginning the word
comes too, reads from those leviathan jaws
the wasp dreads even in its egg :the leak
will stay! the wasp drink best it can
whiten its own teeth with feathers and bones

and my throat, write where it can.


Where your arm was empty most
you fit blooms :worlds
looking for each other, stripped
from their roots -even the clouds adrift

oceans cut loose :Leviathans
gasping forever :each wave
looking for another

-you warm these flowers
as the shallow pond once gathered them
before the sky had learned to rainbow

to thrash till yellow and red
blue and every blossom still tries
to sweep away its color

its side-kick :the Eve
it still needs
to climb that pig-headed double helix

or fall -to climb
wandering the sky itself homeless :a sister ship
that points :a mast cut from a star
different from all others :the Earth
all Earth is looking for, points

as a magnet hooked into polar ice
spinning day and night outward
-you will toss these beauties

to begin a current :the arm
that will soften under your breasts

-you will fit petals
into the ground that came loose today
into the pieces, your tears broken off
glistening like feathers.

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The New Yorker, and elsewhere.  Rafts (Parsifal Editions) is his most recent collection.  Family of Man (Pavement Saw Press) is scheduled for Fall 2009.  For more information, including his essay “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” and a complete bibliography, please visit his website.