Five Poems Simon Perchik Poetry

local_library Five Poems

by Simon Perchik

Published in Issue No. 283 ~ December, 2020


It’s the rope you carry from a cemetery

with the dead holding on as if the knot

would keep its shadow in place


let no one lift it from the ground

to blacken their teeth not to forget

why night became a night


covered the Earth and for the first time

as the word given it by the dying

who need certainty, who lose their way


when separated from each other, want

something to hold that is not a stone

would never let go of their hand.



You pull each clothespin closer

letting them hear the sadness

that comes over the wash


when its water drifts through you

to dry her blouse before your eyes

̶ every night now it soaks


in the darkness that once had a face

would smell as her breasts

the way empty shells from the sea


still wait to be carried back

̶ you listen for arms spreading out

as sleeves to start without her


are already gathering stars

side by side to begin the morning

that lost its will to come.



You reach for December, rip the page off

letting it lay crumpled on the wooden floor

side by side, the days, hours, minutes


still shaking from the final week, you tried

to bring them back to life as tears

̶ this calendar can no longer hide your grief


gives way from under the great weight

that turns snow to stone where each death

stays covered with a night


that never leaves the room except as cracks

loosened by just standing in front of a wall

making do with what is left to let go.



Where this scaffolding ends

the emptiness faces a sea

rests on waves that long ago


dried as one breeze more

still smelling of salt

and thee lift-off that’s now


impossible from the street below

though you rely on trees

as if for the last time each leaf


would soar branch to branch

see everything from above

̶ you reach for the ground


the way a roof is deserted

can go no further, relies on

corners and the afternoon


to fill the sky with its light

from tears trying to learn

how to dry, become pillars


on which everything is built

as nights that spill out

the breathing you no longer need.



And your shadow becomes a river

shallow enough to cross step by step

taking her by the arm not to forget where


no one comes ashore alone  ̶you walk

weighted down by a bottom stone

turning grey, set in place between


each death and water that no longer rises

though your forehead is wet, was kissed

where grass should be, sweetened


so she could tell you are overhead

warming her where sunlight used to be

are wearing her favorite jacket.









account_box More About

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