Simon Perchik ~ Five Poems


Each night this neck­lace cools
till its fever smells from silk
cov­ers the dirt with but­tons

and sleeves help­ing you reach
for a stone small enough to swal­low
though it’s her mouth that’s lift­ed

that stakes every­thing on a sin­gle rock
for shore­line –just like that! a tiny pill
tak­en with water and you find your­self

bent over for bal­last, not mov­ing
not even for the lips ris­ing inside you
mak­ing room for the empti­ness

begin­ning its climb as anoth­er hill­side
–at the top an old wall
cold cor­ners, the room kept open..


It was a need­less rinse, this bowl
half wood, half smelling from wood
that’s been tak­en away, trem­bling

as if today will be its last
though you gath­er up the spoon
hold­ing it close and your arm

keeps it warm, cov­ered with a stream
begin­ning to root as the empti­ness
you lift to your lips with­out try­ing.


This tat­too once had the courage, a rose
sur­round­ed by sum­mer evenings and skin
that remem­bers how warm the name was

–what’s left is cov­ered with the for­ev­er
grow­ing on your arm as the voice
belong­ing to a dead woman mak­ing room

for an immense sea, silenc­ing the Earth
from out­side –here, was a shoul­der
here, her lips –here the dress

becomes too heavy, falls into you
as drift­wood –here was the heart, naked
begin­ning to snow –here was the sleeve.


This spoon all night on tip­toe
lis­ten­ing for the care­less splash
that will nev­er make it back –the cup

half hazel­nut, black, half filled
so its prey can be tracked in the dark
the way one mouth finds anoth­er

feeds on the voice that can’t escape
–hour after hour being eat­en
by the silence long­ing for the light

though even with the walls in place
even with her hands over your eyes
beg­ging you from behind Guess who

you are cir­cling the room, fly­ing blind
spread-eagle, can hear the You
no longer mov­ing between your teeth.


You bask beside her comb
the way a bull­fight­er is trained
emp­ty­ing each blade and after­noons

that come over you as the flour­ish
more beau­ti­ful than a woman’s breath
sud­den­ly there –now is the time
for the lunge her breast makes
when touched in the dark, refreshed
though there are no braids left

only her death hid­den under your sleeve
that belongs in stone
as if what it holds is nev­er enough.


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.