Simon Perchik: Five Poems

You cover the mirror that’s facing the man
standing for hours inside a shop window
staring at your eyes  ̶ it’s a hand-to-hand place

sells jars, tubes and side by side, small tins
filled with the daily guarantee there would be
no more loneliness once the glass is shattered

by stomping the one heel kept wet for the sound
each bottle makes with its ship full sail inside
where business is business and you lay down

with sea gulls, close to shore for the cries
from stars on the lookout for someone
to shut off the light, find you in the dark.

When this pen is lifted to your lips it hears
the ink is just beginning to disguise itself as words
that will feed all night from the page pulled closer

and closer  ̶ there’s not enough room to turn back
once they dry the way a heart first learns
how much blood it lost only afterwards

as an endless sadness still pouring from one page
into the other till all that’s  left
has no word for it though it’s a fountain pen

knows all about emptiness, what will stay black
turn cold and from out your hand the wound
from a sheet stretching out for the snow.

And though you left the sheet blank
the police are still investigating it
as some make-shift wall left in place

when the day after tomorrow arrived
all at once  ̶ they’re waiting for the lab
to come up with how the ink

could have been swept away when the words
already had a place to stay and one by one
carried you off on a raft made from paper

with the pen no longer making estimates
how far the edge is, how deep the corners
the silence you finished working on.

And though it has no name this puddle
is full, was fattened on those afternoons
the rain stopped by to hear for itself

how much each splash sounds like the sleeves
as they emptied thread by thread
stripping her arms to the bone  ̶ you grieve

in water that’s kept warm :the dress
must have found room between her whispers
where water becomes water again

has her eyes, sees you’re older
are leaning over the Earth
the way the first rain was already filled

with loneliness, is still struggling to find
the sun  ̶ just one star and for that
you weep forever, constantly wetting your hands

the way this makeshift wishing well was filled
̶ rusted rings and coins to hear her shadow rising
as the arms that was your home for so long.

The rapids flowing through your hand
takes in tow this day-old bread
̶ from the start impatient for the end

is already sliced the way every waterfall
tries to bring its river with it
become the cry in that faint echo

it needs to find the shattered
̶ it’s not a rock you’re holding
though what’s inside the splash

was left out to dry on this round table
as a lone crumb for that ancient necklace
you still glue to a fingertip for later

 ̶ you need bread that’s a year old today
has mold whose shadow stays green
lets you sit where there is no grass

in a chair each night smaller, sure
it hears her when you close your eyes
to put out the light, use the other hand.


Simon Perchik‘s poetry has appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, The New Yorker, and elsewhere.

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