Simon Perchik: Five Poems

You feed these birds at night
the way every feather they use
comes from a quarry where the air

darkens with each landing –it’s Tuesday
and you still have not forgotten
their return for seeds, endlessly

weeping for a missing child
a brother, mother though their eyes
are unsure how to close

when listening for a name, a flower
a river –you fill your hand from a bag
as if at the bottom they could hear

an emptiness that is not a night
falling behind step by step on the ground
–how open it was, already grass.


And stubborn yet these wicks
warm the light they need
to blossom as stone

then cling, smell from hair
burning inside, clawing for roots
heated by butterflies

and the afternoons coming together
to the light the fire, be a noon
where there was none before.


You stir this soup as if each finger
is warmed by the breeze
though your eyes close when salt is added

–small stones could bring it to life
overflow with branches, berries, wings
shimmering and far away dissolve

into a sea that has no word
for sitting at a table, naked
waiting for you to turn on the light

wrap your arms around a bowl
that’s empty, a night no longer sure
it’s the rim you’re holding on to

that’s circling a man eating alone
who can’t see, hears only the waves
becoming lips, colder and colder.


This thin sheet has no strength left
spread out as a bed
no longer interested in love

though the edge still folds in
taking hold a frayed promise
pulling it to safety word by word

–look around, what was saved is paper
shrinking into curls and hollows
has a face, a mouth –all in writing

has the silence, the forever
death listens for –what it hears
is the unfolding face up

the way moonlight
has never forgotten your fingers
are constantly unpacking paper

as the frail sound oars make
when bringing back a sea
that was not cared for :this note

all this time forgotten, in a box
half wood, half smoke
as if it once lit up the world.


And though this bottle is empty
it drifts on by as if the grass
puts its trust in the thirst

for sunlight and butterflies
–drop by drop you water this grave
till it smells from salt

then sent off, comes back
night after night as a wave
telling you where, what happened.


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 Osiris Poems, published by boxofchalk, 2017. For more information, including free e-books and his essay “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities,” please visit his website at To view one of his interviews, please follow this link:



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s