Five Poems—Spring 2016

By Simon Perchik


The silence that is not a moon

or someone passing by –this dirt

burned itself out though you sift


the way the emptiness that’s left

knows what each rock was for

–you uproot one then a second


as if your lips could be warmed

by a wall falling on its side

–you can’t hold on anymore


are already weakened by kisses

from the night between two rivers

no longer moving one at a time.









And though the casket closed

each corner is starting over

with lips and empty-handed evenings


helps you remember your death

by leaning across the dirt

as the reflection embracing you


needing more light :a dead lake

deeper, enough to cover you

with your shadow and this kiss


turning itself into sun after sun

that never lets go, still darkening

to be what it was.







What did you do! floating off

as the sound these walls make

from the light between the bed


and the pillow leaving together

once you shut your eyes –this room

is not a place to hand over


or wear a necklace that is not a sling

–this room is now a tiny stone

even mourners can’t empty


though the window is kept closed

and the sun too was lowered

is turning into water, drop by drop


carries you along, smoothing your dress

your hair, loosening its still damp light

on the rug, your bare feet and earrings.







As if these leaves are no longer at home

this match is breaking away –by itself

strikes against the wooden door


demands it open her eyes, already smells

from hair loosening around her shoulders

as smoke –you need more wind


and the sky to level out, clear this place

for the stones growing wild side by side

no longer feel your fingers kept warm


by gathering more and more leaves

to their death just to want to be held

as never before by the burning.







Though only two survived, each eye

is homesick for the others

still fingertips, unable to go on


are fanning out as darkness

before it becomes hillside

carried off with this small stone


for loving you, are letting each one

loosen, fall away from the others

still wet from a brother or a sister


or the night washing over you

the way you see through dirt

–you watch how you are wanted


with just two fingers, held close

looking for rain after it leaves

as lips a little at a time.



Simon 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

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