Summer 2010 - THE POTOMAC

Three Poems
   Simon Perchik

Each base egg-white, the kid
rounding third, slips and you hear
the ball still falling.
Nothing wants to fly
not even the rain.

You hear the leaves and look
at your hands – a small plane
is reaching out to be fed, a field
jumping to its death.

It's almost noon.
Nothing could be further away. Or darker.
Even with your eyes closed
it's never dark enough
– you need both hands to hear the leaves
the cry they make
to be fed on the ground
as worms: not even the rain
with all its feathers.

You hear the ball carry back its shadow
on your shadow and your hands
seem to move, the plane
caught in midair though your eyes
were closed, were fumbling
for the rain in your hands
still falling.

This jetty groomed: an Assyrian beard
holding fast, every wave
exact – a nomadic tribe
and the grazing herd – throw a stone
and watch how water still circles its prey

– fish live with this
– the deal is they report
which rock is fattest, the water in turns
escorts, barricades, shrinks their eyelids
into burning glass. – whatever moves

is dark enough, a hook
from under its mask strikes a throat
a whisper splashes sideways
and the sea rises – I lift but my eyes
bend closer as if the dead
could be cured on an anvil: this jetty
thrashing against my cheeks
tighter than the way a spy
is still hung head down to drain
what breath is left, no one inhale
it’s tainted and the forgery

and the waves again and again
brought to the exact spot
as if one splash would reach
its underground stream whose eyes never close

– every rock is afraid, even I am sure
these waves dread the sea that led them here
rapacious and head first its strangling calm

– this jetty couldn't wait for the drought
to break the water in half
again and again in half :each wave
after wave with the only weakness they know
and I still hold that thrashing tail
that Sunday sometimes gone for weeks
sometimes the stone
I brought in from the rain.

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.

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