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New Poetry

by Simon Perchik

This branch climbs past you
the way a breeze spreads out
warmed by roots and feathers

—that's why when you look down
the fruit changes its colors
sweetened with leaves and eyes

that are all alike though the tree
no longer feeds on slower trees
or regrets the choice it made

—its wood still rises, is sure
water will come and wings
still possible, not yet too heavy

from after so much death
so much dirt to shade
and already underway.

You stack dried newspaper
the way every tower keeps track
where the others are—in every room

as if this clutter could darken
would guide you into the open
growing over the usual rain

and stars impossible to find alone
—this tiny apartment is held down
though the ceiling is kept invisible

in place on these maps you need
for all Norths to begin as pillars
and the way back.

Step by step the nights
taste from weeds salted down
though even shorelines

decay, taking hold between
the dirt and one last look as dew
half marshland, half within reach

where her breasts are forever water
and from this darkness
the thirst you use for mist

and bitterness, surrounded by rocks
and in your throat her lips
saying things, ordinary things.

A simple hush and the moon
loses direction, smells
from skid marks and nausea

wants to change places
end up on your shoulders
the way a sobbing child

uses height to forget
be near where the others are
and sideways, this way and that

—you calm this gravestone
as if not enough darkness
could stop in time, went on

to become evenings
and all these lighthouses
abandoned, hardly turning

lit by this single shoreline
led across as rocks
and the afternoons inside.

Inside your arm a rope
though the road you hide
is lifted by hills—the sleeve

rolled back the way all curves
return as if nothing happened
pull alongside, surrounded

no longer airborne
let you splash among the turns
poured over your fingers

trying to squeeze from the sky
the color circling overhead
as darkness and engine sound

strapping you in
filling your hands with noise
black from a single fingernail

pointing at the ground
still afraid to move
while you rush about

with the headlights off
broken as if you remembered
where to look now that the car

is in someone else's name
a fake address and your only chance
is without a day in mind.

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” and a complete bibliography, please visit his website at

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New Poetry

B.Z. Niditch

Eleni Erikson

Simon Perchik

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