p o e m 




Ankle deep it’s Spring, these stones

already green —to keep from falling in

he’s taught himself to limp, stutters

while I bathe the invisible dog

that clings to his chest, whose fur

bristling with gooseflesh half at the controls

half iron pail for the drinking cup


—he must dread the splash

is trained to wade slowly and where

the waves are buried, where these stones

harden, climb to that same altitude

they once flew —a sky

still slippery, filled all at once

with 12 dark-green stones


and he looks up, says my fingers

as if the spray reminded him

how his first breath is now too matted

though it tries to leap, its huge jaw

licking its paws —a few months each year


he wobbles into a water

that’s falling off the Earth and he says

his fingers are too heavy, says

hold him, save him.


Simon Perchik, 1999


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