by Simon Perchik

You were buried in the afternoon
and yet the moon was lost
on its way to the sea –what’s left

is each night step by step
swallowing the light it needs
to swell –your grave will brighten soon

grow branches, more names, splash
–here is that sea and from the night
a grief-stone no bigger than a star

will fall into the waves rising as sunlight
made from sunlight and whitecaps
that pass by as spray that is not shoreline

right and left, smelling from salt
and your shadow with nothing left to let go
shimmering as if something happened.

Her chest no longer listening
though both your arms stay folded
one over the other, wet

the way these dead dare each night
to arrive without them –you stand in front
shirtless, refuse to shake hands

or take from her grave the rocks you left
as a threat to the others not to take what’s hers
not the dirt between the afternoons

not your fingertips, not this rain
growing more and more beautiful
over her breasts, homesick as a flower.

You rub one shoe till the glow
rises side by side –like new
calms the other thought the knot

stays wet, unable to loosen
make a wish, let in air
end over end washed by rain

the way every death is covered with a dress
and the sudden whiteness
taking all the sunsets by surprise

and your limp between two shoes
giving off the light, sticks out the ground
as stone and more silence

It was a funeral :the slow leak
covering the Earth with emptiness
and your heart opening, closing

–now is not the time, this grave
can be seen from the air, is waiting
to be stuffed stone by stone –it needs

more and more, a rain
and every drop next to another
becoming a word and the word

a name –it needs this overcast
–it’s already half in the ground
here to here with the others.

Again and again it’s the paint
darkening from some shadow
that stops by, has her eyes

her forehead –this is the wall
where rotting trees appear
though on the ceiling

her breath thins out
as if it still longs for shoreline
–she won’t drown –with just a pail

you stand in front, empty it
and as the wall drifts in
lean over her, closer, closer

the way a sunset is disguised
as the beautiful night reaching down
with its tomorrow and its silence.

– – – – –

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

lipstickparty magazine has also published previous poems by Perchik.

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