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.