Four poems by Simon Perchik

You become a shell, this time
hardened by so many times
though the dress is empty

–your arm around the Earth
lets nothing brush against the sleeves
except the soft dirt that remembers

clearing out a place for snow
to be scattered the way you dead
give way to the great weight

pressing against your wish
that everything be as it was and you
no longer broken apart by those stones

you let pass through your fingers
–it’s all uphill and grass is everywhere
struggling to bring you to the surface

with nothing in your heart :a buoy
taking the lead as it used to
beginning to fill with air and marble.


And though this door is locked
it leans into the evenings
that hollowed out the place

for its marble and grass
where you still hide, afraid
make the dead go first

–they already know what to do
when the corners are no longer enough
and with your finger become

the sudden breeze filled with moonlight
and distances opening the sea
holding it over the fires –pilings

are useless here, these great walls
cringe from the cries rain gives off
where a morning used to be

and you are following it alone
as if there was a light in the window
waiting for you to come by.


You can’t stop, talk
and far from your mouth
wait for the grass

as the same sound
between your fingers
lowering for lips

–you talk the way rope
takes so long to die
–over and over and over

empty your mouth
filling it with thorns
with shoulders, afternoons.


It was a lake, used to bodies :islands
With an everlasting sunset and the glare
From jewelry, veils slowly drifting down

As the footsteps that now weigh so much
–it came here the way an icy stream
enters a slope that can no longer right itself

has no water left to give, no nights, no arms
though you are reaching for these dead
by hauling off smaller and smaller stones

on tip-toe, paving your hands for the unease
already smelling from wood, rope, holes
hidden in bracelets and never let go.

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

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