Simon Perchik


Barely marble yet these tents
are pulled along the ground
by rope that needs more rope

not yet some high-wire act
for acrobats just learning to wave
while the crowd below

listens for rain already overgrown
with mold and longing, kept wet
by your step by step holding on

to the corners as if they
no longer want to be unfolded
and you could stop walking.



You learn to hammer in the dark
though no one studies the hillside
how it still leans across your arms

the way creeks cast for weeds
and edges –so little is known
why iron takes root in your gut

and the same rain
drags from these wooden shingles
the constant tilt still trying to make it down

–you seal this hole by weeping into it
with a nail that’s bent, struggling
to talk, to find its way and the sea.



That seagulls would grieve for you, circle down
as cries still wet, almost water, making the sky
look for a place not asking for more salt –mourn

the way a whitewashed wall is handed over
though a boy in sleeves is waiting nearby
with his initials around someone no longer there

–stone by stone it will come back and she
by the worn-down buttons on her blouse
that fell open to point a finger at the hole in the air.



Past where an afternoon is buried, each breath
reeks from grass and though your lips are dry
they want their mouth the way it was

pressed against this pillow as if the rush
once brought kisses back to life
again and again as mountains, streams

–you don’t go dark alone, bring rocks, two
and all the while holding up the world in pieces
gathered in a room heavier and heavier, almost gone.



It’s when you widen your lips
that the air hasn’t the strength
to say it has nothing left

only the word for cars
moving slowly one behind the other
–it’s useless –it’s also November

and she is dead and the rain
smells from the word
that let the fires go out.







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 B Poems published by Poets Wear Prada, 2016. For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at

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