to 5

    on the 5ives





Coal must be fought —my shovel
sharpened and the pile
crouching, sure to leap again —the pail
dented, hung from my hip.
It slows the fires.
These dry, black stones
—with one final scream
the clanking stops
the way each stove
already longs for its downstairs
—even this blade
whose mouth is broken open
rears up —didn't I hear
what's taking so long
and what is it I'm banging
—there's a tree inside
—don't you want
there's stirrups! my teeth
rear up —by the mouthful, counting.


Still in a trance, this photograph
— I have to lift your arms
pulled motionless from the paper
midair :an old dance
trains me to fly
and the sky whose cold can't fall
or begin another year
—there's no room for arms
for the wide victory roll
claiming the air, forming the lake
fixed in ice miles above
—I have to point, grip my breath
and pull —I could claw but not yourself
—this picture whose only cry
is the cloud, the call me, call me.


Again that honored stomp, shards
—at the last minute
the glass in pieces, the sky
replaced —at once
more flowers, more songs
then suddenly louder, headlong
past each dance
moving outward and the morning.
We still look for weddings
for something broken, fitting things
drinking from our hands
till the darkness leads back
and where it started
lies down the way gunfire
and some animal we never see
—we look for the worn out
and in our arms the exhausted sun
closing, its fragrance
in pieces :raindrops
sweeter than spreading over us
and we wait for the river.



three poems

simon perchik