The Marlboro Review - Featured Writer
You still graze on engine sounds
on that darkness from some plane
at the same time each night
prowling and between your jaws
--you can't breathe
--the slightest sound
is ravenous, circling
then exactly overhead
thins out the air
the way this sky still devours
each star falling back
on fire gasping for more fire
--you can't take it anymore
jump! though sleep too
is painful and you stagger
night over night
far from this rickety bed
hidden in smoke, black, trembling.
As if this roughed-up cup
does all the work while your fingers
wait on the road past the cemetery
--the handle too, gouged out
by a child's clasp in the dark
and against your lips a trumpet
lifted the way each wellstone
is stacked into a circle
so nothing is forgotten and you drink
only from this faucet named Cold
from what's left though the cup
clings to a marrow that won't rinse out
or know you're calling
when you throw back your throat
to howl without moving your jaw.
It's 2 o'clock in the morning!
Who would come? Who else but you
stalks beside a sink as if the sky
was just starting, still in its cradle
--before all the animals
the hunters :the stars still ice
and you give the sink a sip too
gently, the casket left open
to weaken and rust --with just a cup
you cover your lips
till everything is frozen.
Simon Perchik's most recent books are The Autochthon Poems (2001) and Touching the Headstone (Stride Publications 2000). His work appears in magazines such as the Partisan Review, The Nation, North American Review, The New Yorker and the Marlboro Review Issue No. 10. He lives on Long Island.
From 1950 to 1975, engaged in the practice of private law. From 1975 to 1980, engaged as an Assistant District Attorney for Suffolk County as its first Environmental Prosecutor. From 1980 to date, retired to write full time.