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And though the Earth no longer wobbles

you are rocked asleep still listening

̶ every footstep has your mother's breath

calling you safely out this ancient forest

where every voice smells from stone

growing where leaves should be

one by one gathered around you

to be swallowed whole as if they too

needed more darkness—your mouth

is closed now, making way for the tears

you hear as some almost forgotten lullaby

word for word warming the ground

the way you dead count by twos

side by side, try to remember

how to fall in a circle filled with statues

holding hands as if the silence

would carry them back as evenings

one by one, barefoot, waiting in the open.


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 Family of Man Poems published by Cholla Needles Arts & Literary Library, 2021. For more information including free e-books and his essay “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at


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