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Three Poems
by Simon Perchik

Between your two weakest fingers
the quarter slips, your wish
drowning half in moonlight
half held down by your arm

--you've got an hour in a meter
clogged with ancient lakes and marrow
with wings seeping through the altitude
where north stays stranded in your bones
juts from the curb
and a little water for your heart

--with the first handshake
you will forget again, your wrist
towed from beside some motionless glass
filled where nothing else is thirsty.

Your jaw unbeatable, gathering
the way a boxer will grin
hold up his hands, half fist, half hawk
half circling the referee
the white collar, the white bow tie

--you can use gloves now, the moon
lifting your right arm --something in the
asked who is cold, needs a deep breath
some water, asks if you still wave to clouds
even in the daytime, in the mist

though this sky never caught fire
--the smoke left to you
you will take with you
a cared-for-secret that fits
between your two stained fingers
and you are driving west, skies clear

winds approaching the bridge
from the south 10 to 15
gusting to 25
and the bird collecting overhead
has supper for you in its claws.

Leave it to the lumber company
--every December the same snowlit barn
--another calendar and already
a clean bedspread is covering
the invisible windows, the mourners
room to room and near the blocked door
the same tree dying in the cold

--with both hands you move its sun closer
lift its rope-ends gathered together
--you almost make a knot
hold back the tree from leaving
from growing those prizewinning sizes
and row after row tract houses
each evening lit by a child half pony
half reaching up for apples.

A new calendar --just what you need
for the wall you never find time to patch
--one nail should do it
and you make a hammer from the year ahead.

It's June, still snowing
and though no flowers bloom
the barn's only door has opened, the hay
slowly green again, making friends with you
following the way each hillside never lets
reaches out and every year higher

--these same drifts
once the wingfeathers from gusts
half hooves, half snow and in your arms
the days, the steadied, softly held

About the author:
Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The New Yorker, Agni and elsewhere.
Rafts (Parsifal Editions) is his most recent collection. Family of Man (Pavement Saw Press) is scheduled for Fall 2009. For more information, including his essay "Magic, Illusion and Other Realities" and a complete bibliography, please visit his website at

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