Five Poems


Simon Perchik





You come here to heat your eyes

hide their venom though the dirt

stays in striking range


as shade, lets you taunt the stones

not yet immune to tears and the stare

mourners start fires with –no stone


is safe and further down

slithers across your hands, both hands

to carry some small prey


letting the poison cool, taste

from mouths that remembers nothing

about how warm the cheek was.




     *     *     *



To remind these dead –this rock

was once their only word

though now no one can hear it


–they too have forgotten

where nothing had a name

let the place do all the talking


–it was a time for breaking in

and breaking out –the weakest breath

learned to tremble from the weight


piece by piece deep inside

the bone that is your throat

–this endless sound worn smooth


knows nothing about the others

was left here to harden, try again,

higher, tastes from kisses and edges.




     *     *     *



This comb stretching out

is dragged across your brain

the way a butterfly migrates


–the same side to side

fixed in its wings as a place

it has never been before


though under the mirror a sea

follows you from the beginning

with weeks at a time, surfaces


for the waves it left behind

–by the thousands, impaled

on some vague wind just now


flickering on your forehead

as the hair that’s kept in water

for directions and a leaving.




     *     *     *



Though your shadow carries names

its scent is falling off, luring piece by piece

the stone it needs for nourishment


–you hoodwink these dead, stand here

the way each hillside reaches out

with the wooden carts that go on wobbling


as if they once had wheels, circled slowly down

smelling from fresh cut lumber and warm soup

–it works! Your shadow has always found room


for you, for the creaking inside these low trees

that grow only a darkness not yet the bloom

by itself giving back so many years later.




     *     *     *



Don’t you believe it! to be continued

distracts from the front page

brushing against some hearse


wants more time –this newspaper

is opened then wider as if the rattle

could be heard though you sleep


a lot, sitting in a chair half wood

half the way a bell will practice

till its stance feels right


though you are the only one

listening in some great hall, your arms

folded as if they were not yet lost.









Poems by Simon Perchik have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, The New Yorker and in E·ratio 19.  His most recent collection is The Rosenblum Poems (Cholla Needles Arts & Literary Library, 2020).  Simon Perchik is online at







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