Three Poems by Simon Perchik
You lower your voice and dig
till it comes up empty
stays in place though you
are the only one who talks
as the sound dirt makes
when taken away night after night
to fill the hole in this bed
–from such a darkness
you carry up the Earth
to look for the sun
where an afternoon should be
and there you wait
gently pushed along
by some hillside on tip-toe
quietly leaving your mouth.
You lean into this tree as if its roots
struck something made from wood
no longer moves, became an island
with mountains laid out in rows
and though they have no arms
they open them when someone
is left close by –under such a weight
their hands break apart the Earth
from feeling their way around it
grave after grave, blinded by moonlight
as the chunks you never saved
form this nearly empty night
with nothing but the bright green hole
this dying tree drains, keeps dry
between what you wanted and the shine.
From inches away his finger can’t miss
–the other kid plays dead, falls arm over arm
the way all games come with a well
are filled with wishes hardened into stones
sure the Earth would go along
though there’s no splash –what you hear
is the thud that purifies each death
as one aimless night followed by another
overflowing and this park
becomes the sudden laughter
you no longer get to be
are waiting for this dry wooden bench
to open, let you in, hear the stream
stones hear when young, not yet
sent to the bottom even in the afternoon.
Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent collection is The B Poems published by Poets Wear Prada, 2016. For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at http://www.simonperchik.com.
The Witness by Natalie Crick
Fell upon them
Like the first snow of Winter.
A perfect regret.
They will slit each other open
Just to find me.
Tasting the sweet heat
They found me in the room of
All still warm and pale,
The breaths of the others were
Fluttering in a cage,
Witness to the wreckage.
The whisper of
Blossoms falling into darkness,
Purple as witchcraft,
I fear your murmurings in daylight hours,
A thundercloud blackening the valley.
I am still
An open wound.
You need only to look.
Natalie Crick, from the UK, has poetry published or is forthcoming in a range of journals and magazines including Interpreters House, The Chiron Review, Rust and Moth, Ink in Thirds and The Penwood Review. Her work also features or is forthcoming in a number of anthologies, including Lehigh Valley Vanguard Collections 13. This year her poem, ‘Sunday School’ was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.