Simon Perchik


A private gesture—suddenly one arm
rolls as if it found the field
could guess where the wind—you

don’t see my hand over hand, by instinct
shoving the ground away—it’s habit now
—wiping oil leaks

—strapped to a canvas shopping bag
full blown with groggy rags
with dangling countryside—every morning

one arm around this garbage can
calling airspeeds and where in this fuselage
there’s some distance left—you

don’t see the firewall
or my hand from behind, by accident
the wrong sky and the cloud has changed.


Just off the ground and the mower
needs adjustment, its wing
icing again, its heading

relentless, the crew struggling
—a sudden turbulence  :dark clusters
gutting the air—from high up

I need more gloves, a shallow turn left
or right or everything I touch
bends into a battered circle  :the blade

as if my breathing too, full throttle
and under this cowling, end over end
doors frozen shut, the men

can’t slip clear—there’s a small knob
and the wing dips almost as painfully
skids to dodge the vague stones
the sky I’m sure I saw.


It must be new here
still damp, its moss
bristling—the nurse

says wear a gown
and from the cold
a stone pulls loose

not yet accused, its heart
already soaked, smells
from some sea

not named yet
—just born
who never again in my arms

a breathing
so filled with tears
—I could have named my arms

Benjamin—I fake a name
call these clouds Clouds
name this new stone Benjamin

and I am never without a child
holding my hand
surrounded by darkness and ice.


This watch already gathering
—who would imagine winter
and you are holding my wrist
listening as if the way back
would lift my arm—snow too
is sorted into stones
and not stones, into eyes
that never move—do you still have lips?

This window too will close—every gesture
resets, veers into the Earth
into a morning and the Earth
still struggling to stay aloft
—even light is collecting, some darkness
here, there, here

and the watch each day slower
—what you hear is calling for you, is the dirt
gone lame, wary, step by step
dragging a place, encrusted, lost
and the frost between two stones
held fast to accept the cold
and among your eyes.


I tighten a gift for you
and the ivy across the street
slipping through my fingers
—for just an instant a fuse
stretching along the bricks
and workers below
have decided to open a mountainside

—it’s a small thing, the string
absorbing your gift
as if there will always be a wall
ready to fall and in winter the leaves
year to year remember
their same shape
and never any taller, know
exactly where and you
still living in another city

—I’m mailing you what it means
not to know, that in my hands
even cardboard has an edge
even string reaches an end
—you will open this box
and clearly a great rockslide  :the knot
not any other place.