Poems by Simon Perchik



A simple vest though you suspect
there’s a chair nearby, its back
haunted by sleeves and lifeless


–you don’t touch the wounds
undress the way rain
gives up its life for a place


the dirt might want
now that nothing else is there
except the mud-caked darkness


clinging to you and on the sly
tucks in your arms
lets them circle down –on all sides


stays empty for so many dead
spread out to dry a leather jacket
you were once in love with.




By the handful, in tenderness
yet your shadow erupts
and by nightfall holds on


one shoulder then the other
spun as if this dirt would find
the wind it came here for


circle up and cover this place
with your finger touching
the grave skies grow into


and never let go –a parting gesture
collecting darkness with another
helps you leave the way the dead


fill their arms with the Earth
carried around as morning and higher
in stones they know by heart.




You limp the way a stream
will soothe a single rock
and along the bottom


remembers this path
as darkness and dry leaves
though you don’t look down


–you hear it’s raining :the hush
not right now but at night
these cinders float to the surface


keep one foot swollen, the other
has so little and for a long time now
the listening in secret.




Hot milk, half with butterflies
and the cup helps you think
what happened happened clearly


letting her blouse open so one breast
cooled before the other though you
are 5 going on 5½, tugging a blanket


from far away as nap time, your fingers
under the good morning, boys and girls
–you stroke this soft rim the way moonlight


once overflowed a bell circling down
emptied the room, her mouth, years
now motionless and between your hands.




Exhausted, you need a corner, gloves
and the way a boxer tapes both fists
these two walls can save you


take hold the paint, this brush
making all the right moves
though the ladder half wobbles


half has a chance to build up each wall
by changing from color to color
–it’s Sunday and once a week


you try to make good its great loss
–with both arms, rope off the room
to reach an end for something


that still comes in and hand over hand
put back as if the bell still works
is used to constant fear and distances.


simon-perchikSimon 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, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.




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