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like water to STONE

like water to STONE

A Collection of Poems



Adelaide Books

New York/ Lisbon


like water to STONE

A Collection of Poems

by Steven Pelcman

Copyright © 2017 By Steven Pelcman

Cover Image © 2017 Steven Pelcman

Published by Adelaide Books, New York / Lisbon

An imprint of the Istina Group DBA

Cover design & Interior Formatting:

Istina Group DBA, New York


Stevan V. Nikolic

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any

manner whatsoever without written permission from the author except

in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and


For any information, please address Adelaide Books


ISBN13: 978-1-950437-22-1

ISBN10: 1-950437-22-1

Dedicated to Mom, Dad and Bonnie

and to Jessica and Eric

and to all above who have passed through

all the days of our lives

Special thanks to poet, teacher and mentor,

Dan Masterson.

In the deep shadows

Still dark after they are gone

To share the warmth that color can give

Where the leaves darken

Against September’s wind


A Dying Animal

A Hunter Waits

A Bat Invades our Summer Bungalow

A Gathering

A Walk with Miguel

He Needed to Know

Key Largo


The Widow Maker

Taos Pueblo

The Stranger at 3AM

Lake Shrine


A Small World





Bee in Classroom

Between the Lost and the Forgotten

Left Behind

The Day Grandfather Died


The Young Wife


Sunday Morning at Market Square



Saving Frogs

Summer Love

Mont Saint Michel


First Moment of Custody Visit


Buying a Rug at the Istanbul Bazaar


KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

An Impression

Mountain Lake in Fall

At the Window


Adirondack Mountain Lakes

Room 229

Station M8

Deer Frozen in Headlights


The Last Morning

Sunday’s Visit with Mom

Family Diary

Touch the Wind

Sweet Madeira

A Painting of a Woman

Born Again

like water to STONE


Unknown Faces

My Bubbie

The Things Little Children Can Do

The Good Wife


Memories of a Child

The Confessions of a Dying Man

Saturday Morning at Temple


About the Author

Publishing Credits


A Dying Animal

Her paw weighs

no more than that

of a leaf and trembles

at even the sounds of light

that rise from under

the snow in winter,

and there is little more

to expect other than

a brief moment for her dying,

so that her whimpering

can melt away

under the heavy darkness.

I put my hand

in the bloody footprint

and feel moonlight

roll over me like fur

ruffling in wind

and I smell the odor

of something damp

and sticky and wild,

and I know that something

had been alive, that it had sung

the same song as darkness

sings to itself when no one is listening.

A Hunter Waits

He waits in the cold

with schnapps and a twenty-two rifle

in a wooden look-out tower

on stilts overlooking a clearing,

now the thin winter ice,

as the moon’s face slips across it,

hoping a wild pig or a hungry deer

will be suddenly caught by surprise.

Above the tree-line wine hills

with frozen dried out saps

still clinging to the vine

can feel the sifting wind

as it plucks its way through

the hedgerows.

He warms his body with alcohol

under the weight of the moon

as a deer slithers by

the thin dark trees gnawing

at bark and fallen leaves

and the shallow pools of water

the late winter night forms.

They look through the darkness

knowing that nothing protects them

but the warmth within.

A Bat Invades our Summer Bungalow

In late August when deer feel it is safe

to wander across Sullivan Road

and black bears sniff out

the last ripe berries

before September’s chill

my mother airs out the bungalow

of stifling heat and wilted roses

first planted many summers ago.

She leaves open a window

and puts us to sleep

to the aroma of cold pine bark

and moss dripping wet in the moonlight

when it enters like a sudden awakening

to a nightmare and tumbles deep into itself;

a silhouette collecting darkness

as a wound discolors skin

to blanket the room with its wings.

Its madness drives my mother mad

with her one hand on top of her hair

in a bun while the other holds a broom

as the moon eavesdrops

against the wooden walls

and the sky thins into a faded blue

but this flying leech does not fly

and that’s the thing that scares her most

as she watches it spread out its body

like a lost continent on a map

of white and yellow plastered walls

with its tiny eyes bulging and gritty teeth

fangs whiter than the kitchen lamp light

beaming light house signals

to sea creatures on the horizon.

She turns on all of the lights

and locks us in the bedroom

while she chases this sticky chunk of flesh,

its heart beating against one wall

then leaping to another turning my mother

into a housewife Don Quixote with a broom

muttering words like a lost tongue

only she and it would understand.

They danced this way in the cold summer air,

she afraid it would nest in her hair

and it afraid the stars would not show the way

to the endless darkness it longed for.

A Gathering

The night in winter

does not roll in lazily.

Instead it bursts over the city

like a dark wound

spreading quickly.

There is a park we pass

on the way into the city

near an old Russian church

off of Tulla street

where old men huddle

over a small fire.

Their shadows press tightly

like a clump of trees

listening to the darkness

chanting a prayer lost

in the wind

only the dying

would remember.

They are not alone

as black birds

like mobsters

stalk the snowy field

burying their own shadows

into the hard ground.

They congregate like rigs

on a Texas oil field

exploiting the earth

with their beaks

until the moon

is a piece of gold

hurtling before them

but they do not fly away,

they leap and stretch

their necks out as if drunk

on cold air, and the men

join in by stomping

to keep their feet warm

and clapping their hands

to shake off the chill.

This is the dance

of the forgotten

that silently migrate

and know no difference

between day or night.

One by one they leave

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