Simon Perchik ~ Five Poems

From the same mag­ic spell that’s not air
you lay bare two suns–a blind­ing run
before there was any life on Earth

–what fol­lows already knows
how love would work and went for it
though nobody will say where that star went

except when reach­ing out both arms
they some­how were warmed
begin­ning from the fingertips

lock­ing in the chance they will go cold
point an no one would be there
though every night to get closer

you stand on the same grave­stone and weep
while look­ing down–an ancient ritual
that grows grass black then blacker

to cool what is lying in the ground
has become this invis­i­ble hillside
is used to you look­ing, looking.


It was a rit­u­al, a sim­ple splash
would refill the Earth the way this cup
spills over with birds–what you heard

was a cloud brush­ing against the sky
as feathers–yes, the first morning
and the fin­ished sun was poured

where your lips would be for evenings
–even now every sound from above
is sacred, enters the ground

as the voice the begin­ning sun longed to hear
by reach­ing down for anoth­er voice
in the wait­ing moon that’s no longer cold.


Side by side every­thing ris­es as if your breath
once held two moons with room in your heart
for feathers–this empti­ness waits for you

on each moun­tain side, step by step
you still hear the grass cast its shadow
upward then over the small stones buried

to thin the air–you too will be left here
still look­ing upward, there, there in the clear air
a flower that’s not a place.


You are read­ing this tick­et out loud, over and over
the way a shov­el takes from the ground
what it needs to make room and leaves

–word by word you shape both tracks
as the anvil fresh from the flames that say
this trip was sealed by a mouth

still swal­low­ing the coals one by one
to lift the great sea ris­ing in your throat
as the cry head­ed for words to find

the missing–you cling to a window
that describes your lips tear­ing in half
the all clear that knows only to look.


You can’t tell what death is saying
–it looks you in the face as the sound
when you are car­ried the way a veil

wraps its sor­row in streams feed­ing on shores
that know only thirst–you take the chance
fall in love with death, tell it your lips

grow cold­er, heavier–from the start
you’re kept from every­thing else
–it’s all you know, the step by step

each los­ing its way by looking
for the oth­er that is already a shadow
will car­ry you where no one has lived before.


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