Simon Perchik


This pen clinging to my hand
is frightened —in small doses
even a stone emits an invisible ray
slowly devours its predators
—who would suspect something so old
still wants to survive

—there's hope for us all! you too
can tread in water no one ever sees
—you don't drown
but there's no shore either
just the drowning forever
with others, a word among words
and the fingers that want to splash about
whose only mist is enough
to start a sky from the beginning
enough to hide the sea

—there never was hope. Words
lose their breath, have second thoughts
though you can still make out
when shadows and days pass by
—you almost remember your soft pineal eye
closing over without a sound
—your other eyes won't heal
and tears still warn you away

—your hand too will ache
cautiously holding this page
and the paper spread through your body
through the withered shallows
just learning to weep

—you try to save yourself
writing at night, all night
words gouged out from stone, Esther Esther
—you don't drown
but they soon start to whisper
and your arms once so generous.




Using both hands now, this bulb
flickering the way goldfish
reckless in the inflammable water

—this clouded bulb is dangerous
without a name —I call its light
Old Blue and the Earth just beginning

is cooled by firestones
that would become rainwater
—I call this lamp Smoke

play it safe, a second name
alongside the other :my hands
filled with light
even before there were eyes
before fingers would beg for curvature
and the watchful hand on my forehead

—I close my eyes :a fast
to allow my skull —the change
is so slow —there never was enough room

for the eyes, for the tears
the storm after storm —you dead
are always thirsty and I can't fix

this throwaway bulb, throwaway light
—I just give it two names
and more darkness, wait for you

near these loving candles, loving matches
and the glass cage with still more water
locked in as if one explosion more

would lay open another sun
and this ice into a clear stream
into your brief happiness.




Inside this acorn the frozen call
for feathers —I want to gather eggs
so nobody would recognize the sky
—I want to hold in my hands
shells, piece by sacred piece.

You are never the one
though there is a tree
running after the same leaves
even in winter —you're never there

only another acorn that the dirt
feeds more dirt, that's had enough
—with ruthless strokes
the way a shovel becomes a wing
broken open from inside and I dig

as if you're near water
close to deer grazing on its banks
and branches whose oak
comes from being seen
from their fragrance icing over

—I make a well —who could imagine
such a nest could fall
without crying out a darkness
come down from the mountains to drink

—one by one you'll know
oak —this hole's too deep
but I have to get past the sun.