the wax paper

Simon Perchick

FIVE POEMS

*

Barely marble yet these tents

are pulled along the ground

by rope that needs more rope

not yet some high-wire act

for acrobats just learning to wave

while the crowd below

listens for rain already overgrown

with mold and longing, kept wet

by your step by step holding on

to the corners as if they

no longer want to be unfolded

and you could stop walking.

*

You learn to hammer in the dark

though no one studies the hillside

how it still leans across your arms

the way creeks cast for weeds

and edges–so little is known

why iron takes root in your gut

and the same rain

drags from these wooden shingles

the constant tilt still trying to make it down

–you seal this hole by weeping into it

with a nail that’s bent, struggling

to talk, to find its way and the sea.

*

Past where an afternoon is buried, each breath

reeks from grass and though your lips are dry

they want their mouth the way it was

pressed against this pillow as if the rush

once brought kisses back to life

again and again as mountains, streams

–you don’t go dark alone, bring rocks, two

and all the while holding up the world in pieces

gathered in a room heavier and heavier, almost gone.

*

That seagulls would grieve for you, circle down

as cries still wet, almost water, making the sky

look for a place not asking for more salt–mourn

the way a whitewashed wall is handed over

though a boy in sleeves is waiting nearby

with his initials around someone no longer there

–stone by stone it will come back and she

by the worn-down buttons on her blouse

that fell open to point a finger at the hole in the air.

Simon Perchik's poetry has also appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, The New Yorker and elsewhere.