Simon Perchik: Five Poems

From far off though this wall
still grieves, stone over stone
closing from inside as mist

–still sags into each corner
the way mourners come by in twos
binding their dead to the dim light

that covers the Earth with your forehead
–you’re lost, sinking in
till you stop as you did before

and again your back breaks open
for air and wings and in your knees
the bones that will go no further

are filled with an immense arch
pressing down on the thin shadow
waiting at home and loosening.

A losing toss though the dirt
hears you stretching out
for nourishment –the thud

grows wild now, every rug
smells from bare wood
and the unforgiving heaviness

pressed against a door
that wants more room
–you have to splash each floor

the way the Earth is pieced together
expects something underneath
to lean forward as the sound

its shadow makes from your arm
heavier and heavier, almost through
can’t be seen from the air.

And though there are no planes
it’s still a room, is standing by
has winds side by side

the way this fleece-lined jacket
never dries, hangs from the ceiling
around and around, loosening

in the ice, struggling with moons
and the drop by drop from your chest
left open for more sky

points to rain, to engines, wings, oil
no longer spreading through these walls
as the dim light near the window.

At last and the bare wood
half maple, half before morning
though this rag is already wet

caught up in a seedy summer rain
heated on a table not yet mountainside
wobbling, battered by waiting streams

trying to hold on, drink from a surface
sweetened by water –you lower the cup
face down, help it look for dirt

for its fragrance all night closing in
warmer and warmer alongside a dress
shrunk to fit the soft rim

running naked between your teeth
and dead mornings, around and around
squeezing the sleeves till they go black

the way this washcloth stares in the dark
for a sea to break open, by itself
find mud, the small puddle, her arms.

You are mourned the way a child
is taught, stacks wooden blocks
letter by letter letting them topple

spread-eagle into the distance
without a place for corners
or grieve stones –first day in class

and already an uncontrollable glee
growing wild, higher and higher
reeling into sunlight and far off hills

–a five year old Earth, forgetful
hidden from falling skies and shadows
end over end looking for a home

in bedrock, hardened by you dead
still standing by as the dirt handful
everywhere just by moving your hands.

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 Gibson Poems, published by Cholla Needles, 2019. 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

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