1. It has nothing to do with the banjo – this chair

aches for wheels that will rust, wobble
the way riverbeds grow into something else

–where there was a mouth, there’s now wet dirt
and with a single gulp the Earth is drained
by a compass that points to where it’s from

and you are eased room to room
as an endless sob drying in your throat
–you sing along till side by side

each wheel becomes that afternoon
that folded one hand over the other
as if for the last time.

2. A spotless avalanche, minutes old
already bathed the way this rope
begins as rain then ponds

then oceans slowly covered with masts
from hard tall ships –you dead
still cling to the rocks and what’s left

when mourners leave too close to each other
–you stretch out though your arms
are now the endless undergrowth

half tied to shadows, half your slow descent
as if the sky was never enough, comes by
weaker and weaker till your breath

becomes weightless –say it! what you hear
is one stone telling the others who it loves
what it began so late in the afternoon.

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013). For more information, including free e-books, and his essay “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at