Simon Perchik
  Branching out and this hillside
  bit by bit unraveling
  the way your shadow keeps to itself

  just by darkening, fed the dirt
  you once could see through
  as if nothing was there to hum

  then swallow some old love song
  that came into the world
  facing the ground still trying

  to leave you and night after night
  you listen for these smaller
  then smaller stones eating alone

  as the cry forever struggling
  from its harsh stranglehold
  to keep up, side by side and stay.

  Afraid and the wall
  follows behind though you
  point, know all about

  descent and hammer blows
  as the distant cry from home
  –you sift between

  as if this ready-mix
  no longer cares about stone
  broken open against one finger

  retracing some caress
  lost and the others
  with no end to it.

  As if by yourself the harness
  half branches, half marble
  struggling to slow the moss

  and around both shoulders
  the crowd envies such a strength
  –a fake! what they don’t see

  is the iron bit that’s vaguely green
  though it’s your jaws not these gates
  that cannot move without you

  –a belonging and yet this mold
  is always in bloom, holding on
  to one winter more

  that needs flowers
  the way all mourners kneel
  and underneath the snow

  look for a wagon not from wood
  breaking down in front its fragrance
  and where you stopped for water.

  Just by reaching in –this sore
  is heated though your arm
  covers it the way moonlight

  can’t hold on any longer
  lets some hillside pour over it
  and mornings too grow huge

  count the nights from so far off
  and each other –you collect
  enter each room deeper and deeper

  careful not to shake the walls
  –on tiptoe so nothing falls
  takes root bent over a table

  warmed by these small rocks
  to follow you, shut half by the stench
  half on their own, one by one.

  You think it’s cramps
  though certainly this dirt
  resembles her voice

  and no one here but you
  pours from a bowl, sure
  it’s laced, opens out

  sickens your step by step
  –for a while they’re quiet
  washed in front her grave

  though your mouth is tighter
  swollen, surrounded by inches
  no longer dry or empty.
Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent collection is The Osiris Poems published by box of chalk, 2017. For more information, including free e-books and his essay titled, “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities,” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com