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Three Poems
You still eat roots the way each footstep
put together this hillside
as if it was once a pond and slowly

dried for the afternoon–a simple life
when each meal stays warm
though you were lowered with the same rope

mourners bring as in Here it is
and the grass flows clearer
than the way you go around

with both hands folded as if your grave
was born joined to these others
sweetened by them and time to time.


To keep from breathing you cough
the way these two stuffed pillows
still float on the bed

wanting to fly off together
–you have been given
an advantage, are aroused

by snow melting in your throat
as flowers and footprints
though another year has gone by

and your lips shrunk down
to the bone–you dead
are warmed by a fever

no longer in one piece
has barely enough dirt
to hide the afternoon

that knows all about burials
becoming rain by listening
for your cough, can hear it

rising from this bed
as your breath with nothing’s wrong
till suddenly it’s louder.


It starts at the foundry, softens
then flows slowly past
though the nail you’ve just pulled up

is already bending over, gasping for air
knows all about rust
from the way a summer breeze

will comfort the still warm air
and together eat and eat and eat
–who can make it breathe again

be more merciful, let it wait
till the board finds another board
a corner and though there’s nothing inside

it’s enough–who but you
digs with a hammer, hand over hand
looking for the others.

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 Osiris Poems (boxofchalk). For more information, including free e-books and his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities,” please visit his website.