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Simon Perchik

*

It’s only a few minutes
but they add up as bedrock
and from behind swallow the Earth

whole –this watch is always late
though its slow climbing turn
has nothing to do with this sunset

strapped to your wrist
while the other hand waves goodbye
running into bad weather

as if all it can retrieve
is hillside, sure you will lean back
slower and slower without any closer.

*

What chance does this moon have
the way for a few hours every day
not one drop makes it back, held down

as the thirst that never lets go
and you swallow hillside into hillside
–a few hours! that’s all and the moon

still trying, takes from your jawbone
some ancient sea half marrow, half
no longer flowing through as moonlight

heavier and heavier with the entire Earth
backing you up when the moon is lifted whole
from inside your mouth, to be returned

then gather you in for the fire
that is nothing without the night sky
still claiming you with headwinds and rain

even when there is no rain
–there is no fire left though the moon
never dries, clings to your lips

the way this dirt drinks as much as it can
and everything it touches is want
–you don’t have to empty all these flowers.

*

You bang the rim the way skies
loosen and this jar at last
starts to open, becomes a second sky

though under the lid her shoulders
wait for air, for the knock
with no horizon curling up on itself

as sunlight, half far off, half
circling down from her arms
end over end, reaching around

making room by holding your hand
–it’s a harmless maneuver
counter clockwise so you never forget

exactly where the dirt was shattered
hid its fragrance and stars
one at a time taking forever.

*

You kneel the way this sky never learned
those chancy turns the dirt throws back
as breezes, still warm, scented

with what’s left from when the Earth
had two centers, one blue, the other
footsteps, half random, half gathered in

for stones no longer moving
–you begin each descent
unsure, around and around, entangled

as if roots would nudge the dead closer
again into your arm over arm waving goodbye
with one more than the other

–it’s how you dig, folded over
and your shadow deeper and deeper
already reeks from far off and wings.

*

You have to let them fall
though once the ground cools
–this toaster is used to it

sure each slice will climb
side by side and even alone
you wear a fleece-lined jacket

set the timer left to right
the way the first sunrise
turned from what was left

–it’s still warm inside
and each hillside –you expect them
to burn, to break apart midair

making the room the dead
no longer need
though there’s no forgetting

why this crust just through
two graves, yours
and alongside in the dirt

brought to the surface
as the cold bread
that no longer hopes for anything.

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