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Five poems by Simon Perchick


You squint as if its cries could fit

and in the same pot this egg

lowered to the bottom –each wave

learns from the others just how much

end over end heats an inside

that has no shell, becomes a sea

overflows the way you dead are buried

embraced by a room filled with water

by walls built from wood and knots

and nails, has a door that opens up

whitewashed, sent out as daylight

all the time adding shoreline and salt.


Barely marble yet these tents

are pulled along the ground

by rope that needs more rope

not yet some high-wire act

for acrobats just learning to wave

while the crowd below

listens for rain already overgrown

with mold and longing, kept wet

by your step by step holding on

to the corners as if they

no longer want to be unfolded

and you could stop walking.


As if these gravestones were once a forest

between each there’s still the breeze

from wood and leaves and winter

though under your fingertips the initials

warm, are already stretching out

the way a beginner tree wants to be lit

then at its highest even in the cold

grows a small stone that will ripen

and stay red for the arrow

carved around two rivers and the heart

brought closer, smelling from the caress

that is not a blouse or its ashes.


Though the bed died during the night

this sheet is reaching for flowers

still warm from the last time they saw daylight

as one more hole in the Earth

–it’s for them you heat the room

with wood each morning heavier

breathing in the way you fill your arms

with sores no longer holding on

–this bed was left to die in the open

as the space between two pillows

that grieves with the ancient scent

cooling your lips among the ashes.


Even the night was made from wood

has sheets, a gown, the kind

brides wear only once

though you pace in front the bed

the way mathematicians mull over chalk

scraping it against something black

that could be pulling the room apart

with the faint sound from dust

coming by for what’s left

and the corners –vaguely you can hear

her lips breathing into yours

setting on fire the stars

that would sweeten your mouth

with the never ending hum

emptied from wells and springs

for smoke, no longer knows how to talk

how to glow when side by side

as planks and weeds and this pillow.

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 Reflection in a Glass Eye published by Cholla Needles Arts & Literary Library, 2020. 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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