Tuesday, March 30, 2010

*
Heated over this stuffed manhole
she waits :a winter solstice, ahead
trees across the ice, in back
the sun still bleaching her hair -she stays

while her shadow sweeps the iron cap
as if a sundial could forecast
the chance for snow. Or tomorrow.

She can’t get up. Each tear weighs more
than the shadow moving without her.
Funerals are like that. She looks around
at the flowers. At the cops someone will call.

She’s done this before, convinced
the Earth got so big
by hiding all those summers
no one ever sees again -certain

the cry she hears is the baby
she was and listens
like a mother will forever
for her child -the crowd’s

been through it all
and traffic doesn’t stop anymore
makes a wide, slow arc
as sometimes your arm around my shoulder
helps someone we don’t ever see
keep warm and we hear that cry
not yet a sound, not yet left the heart.



*
Just our initials, carved
as a heart is warmed by bark
by one clean sweep as the sun all day
erasing its light, each day brighter

--let the landlord yell. Say
you don't know or why
or some mistake. There's insurance
for these errors. And omissions. Say
you saw lightning, your door
always rattled, no one comes for leaves
and the lock was filled with birds, say
feel the key. Worn down, bleeding.

My wrist still aches.
Holding a rag and this knife
I struck your door to find you, kiss you
--the blade was exhausted.

I had to carry it down the steps
as some giant redwood
falling, falling, say to your landlord

the door was calling out for water
that even its heart stopped hiding, say
you will keep the faucet open
will water this heart
till each letter fills with lakes, in time
even the birds won't notice, say
in time, in time, say centuries.

Say this heart was left
as at Christmas time a gift
under the branches --the tree
is honored, the door ripens
opens its sweet oranges, sweet lips
sweet arms and legs, a home, say
sweeter than toes and fingers.


*

As if rust too needed height
my iron arrowheads
strike this old stone wall :water
once climbed --this stream

was overhead, once so gentle
the stones drifted up --in those days
I could see through the Earth.
There was only one color, the light

not yet airborne
splashing weeds :feathers
deep in its well shaft
as archers will pull up the wick
black now from screeching engine grease
from skidding cockpit gauges

--I aim at stones, walls whose water
flew! Water's too heavy now, each raindrop
filled with my shadow falling loose
passing through the Earth --where I am

each stone, huddled, knows inside
its light will be taken away
as bells drifting up
are still ignited --this wall

struck for its split second on fire :my heart
hiding now against its chest
over and over, my shadow
breaking apart, water breaking apart :rain
still sweet, trying to fly past the Earth.


*
Hooves high, necks pulled back
clinging to the reins, every noon
I consult this carousel, this creaking
Till every horse that perished
Prances again, its calliope
Blaring into empty graves :the wall

airborne :the sun
bridled for its sacrifice
--every leaf ever alive
all at once at noon an enormous fountain
and fossils too begin to leap

--these iron horses
as every bell is cast to gape
to circle the horror, their hides
whipped --Death carries a bell
to see in the dark, its jaws
like a great bow bent back
filled with arrows, with clouds
in the shape half man, half
beautiful horses combing their hair

--again I'm struck, my stirrups
dangling loose :my arms
clanking against the sun
--lap after lap to flay a thin strip.
The night will be hungry --I come to see

a random yes or no, what happened
what will come, the dead
have all the answers but at noon

the stars still lose their way
rise out the Earth to walk
as if the zodiac guiding my hooves
and every star flows over my shoulders
into some great cascade

--not high enough, still frail
covered with snow, some stars
are lifted just in time.

I make the rounds, pat each horse
along its eyes, come to hear
all twelve :every chime is risen
is wandering over the world
over the light and lost.

SIMON PERCHIK