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Simon Perchik


These iron faucets, one
for water from the South, its twin
icy streams and every morning
I turn two valves
the way each child is born
from riverbeds and the sink

filling with skies, with open seas
where the sun looks at its reflection
--the light half wind
half bathing the Earth

--every morning a few drops
on my forehead, just enough sunlight
to remind us all how death
when this bowl drains
as if a great wave, beginning at sunrise
continent over continent --you see it

in stands when the crowds
wait for the crest to be carried
together, washing the water
with water not yet whirlpools and absences

--I hold these two tools
not sure what it is I'm making
or loosening or stone
from stones that weep
even in wells, were brought to this basin
and like a sudden flower
points where the sun and my hand too
wants to go home.


Yet the moon barely mutters
pinpoints its lips the way seawater
pours into your lap, giving birth
to drifts and heaviness --your arms

weigh more, the marrow
flowing into some dried ditch
you nurse with snow, let it settle
in your arms, filling them with tides

that match the moon's still warm lips
its voice and lullabies --you sing
making snowballs, naming them so they float
between the mornings and faster.


You teach these fish alarm
shake and from a small box
rattled the way babies already bathed
are powdered, fed --it's a milky world

with gills sobbing against a wall
and the glass swaying in barely sunset
--goldfish are not used to clocks

and though you teach them time
it's always with seconds to spare
to jump, the flakes explode
even before they strike the ground

as rain covered with flames
till all that's left from the sky
is its water and smoke, its flakes
floating on the surface

--you point out how each spark
is picked off as if it were an apple
and between your teeth the headwind
falling to the bottom to be rocked asleep

--you use a manual, at 12 o'clock
midnight and noon the way twins, one
in darkness, one reading directions
and though you hold the tank close

these fish learn when it's time
for the lid to open --from above
a weight half crumpled, half
breathing in and breathing in.


Simon Perchik's recent book: Hands Collected, The Books of Simon Perchik is available from Pavement Saw Press. Visit his website. His work is archived at the Library of Congress's Rare Book Collection, Yale University Library's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Collection and The Ohio State University Library's Avant Writing Collection.

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