Gingerbread House Lit Mag

Five Poems

Slowly this coral
braces for the back and forth
by changing colors

beginning with moonlight—in time
the leaves become tea, gutted
the way an old woman with beads

weighs your palm for riverbeds
then spreads each finger
whose only memory is the darkness

that helps you breathe
underwater till it burns out
smells from emptiness

and standing in a circle while you drink
from a cup filled with some meadow
overgrown, forgotten, all at once.

Without the map you make a turn
the way someone pawns a coat
and butterflies disappear

though you remember the road
before it forked, became a valley
and the town, driving through

with the trunk propped open
helping you count over and over
to ten, half someone’s breath

half moonlight pressing against the hood
to open it, let out the wings, the road
and how much longer.

Don’t look around –it’s this conch
whispering back, keeping you awake
the way sailors embrace the stars

with rope when the rigging loosens
as the coming wave
falling to its death in your ear

—a nameless shell holds your hand
so it stays wet when lifted by moonlight
swollen from the darkness it needs

to flood the Earth, let go the railing
jump from the afternoons—you should look
for piling to carry away

on your shoulders as the voice
still circling overhead, almost a sea
almost all from your eyes.

You swallow head down
the way this hillside
sets for some far place

as evenings—it’s safe now
to drink from the birdbath
then throw your head back

purified by the pebbles
now gathered in a circle
as if they were the ones

you dead listen for
with your eyes closed
—in such a darkness

water becomes distance
finds the place in your mouth
for a field where a plane

skims by to cover you
as mist from its descent
still burning in the ground.

It was mindless gesture
greeting someone not there
though the cap still tilts

is falling behind as the gust
from passing sirens and bells
helps you close your eyes

where the brim from the inside
folds end over end
catches fire and over your forehead

cushions it with ashes the way a stone
softens another stone, moves it closer
wants it to press your mouth

against the evening and open it
for the darkness you bring
to loosen the earrings and sparks.

Simon Perchik

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 Rosenblum Poems published by Cholla Needles Arts & Literary Library,2020. For more information including free e-books and his essay “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at

To view one of his interviews please follow this link

Artwork: Anna Dittmann, Die Muschelsammlerin

This entry was published on May 31, 2020 at 12:05 am and is filed under 42 (May 2020), Poetry. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.
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