Ten Poems—Fall 2017

By Simon Perchik


A jacket could trick my arms

help me forget once they leave

though what I become


has lips and around each shoulder

both sleeves fit the way skies

still overflow, break free


settle down, neatened

as if this mirror was still looking

could hear, I don’t see you, louder.




You hover the way each memory

stands by –the faintest scent

breathes down your brain


till its dust reeks from moonlight

and you cover your arms with air

holding them down, drag this table


more than enough for clouds

and though nothing falls

you’re sure it’s safe to exhale


making room in your heart

for the smell from skies

and what they too wanted back.




Heated by sand each word

gathers up another

one teaspoon at a time


–your fever can’t be found

though the address was written

from salt and glass –you don’t see


the envelope :the bottle

crowding you from inside

has to be taken by mouth


as if a lull made any difference

without the pieces to settle down

and already your throat tastes bitter.




Once it reaches this sink

the sun takes nothing back

lets you place water


and forever it’s your shadow

wandering the Earth

the way all twins are born


already cold –you rinse

as if moonlight were leaving it

damaged, a scar would come


so this cup you hold you hold

twice, gropes alongside

as darkness though the faucet


still leaks, flows through your arms

draining hillside after hillside

from riverbeds and almost there.




A single charm and the air

slows though what you breathe in

is clustered with stones


falling into stones –even here

you use the ruined

to anchor between one miracle


and another –shoulder to shoulder

with no place to go these graves

are opened for stars


half coming back, half

the way your breath covers the dirt

takes hold and lifts from under.





You expect more from rain, point

though cupped in your hand

there’s no sign when these stones


pulled it to the ground

as mouths broken open

devouring the Earth


–all that’s left standing

is the way moonlight enters

with just enough darkness


to touch down everywhere at once

and not have to remember –the sky

owes you, should stick


cover your skin with a toss

made from a single name

coming to a close –splash


is what you count on

–place to place watering

the small door that opens at night.





Not yet certain, half stone

half held back –wave after wave

rattles it, makes it start over


louder, distracted by the sound

that is not your shoulders

gathering around this grave


no longer facing the fragrance

riverbeds become once they dry

by calling out to each other


clog your mouth with salt and nearby

–what you hear is edging closer

has doubts, lost count


the way these rocks are winded

and one by one broken up

as flowers and your arms.





Dragging one leg you dust

the way sunlight changes colors

once it touches down and this rag


spreading out along the limp

that carries you away

wiping off weeds, winds


and those webs spiders are taught

to listen with just their shadow

for distances –you smother


as if one death would point

where the others let you

and cover the Earth


with mouths that never close

though you tug, taking root

in wobble, losing hold


strutting into these corners

pulled by a closeness

that is not dirt or moving.






Inside this glass its sand

flowing between the hours

and shoreline –you drink


waves, not sure one grave

would pull you under

give in to the small stones


you swallow twice

covering your mouth

with beach grass, harbors


and sea birds flying toward you

no longer keeping track

bringing you more cries


and expect an answer –you water

rock that never ripens
though your shadow


is rotting on the ground

pouring from these dead

as moonlight and left behind.





And though you dread the mail

this note is used to her arms

folding over your eyes


brushing aside the dust

that’s unimportant now

–you can’t make out the name


floating up as salt, empty

with some small sea beginning

clings the way every envelope


is carried along, half evenings

half sinking back into darkness

and word after word while they last.


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 box of chalk, 2017. For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.

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