Simon Perchik – Four untitled poems


You fold this sweater the way a moth

builds halls from the darkness it needs

to go on living –safe inside this coffin

a family is gathering for dinner, cashmere

with oil, some garlic, a little salt, lit

and wings warmed by mealtime stories

about flying at night into small fires

grazing on the somewhere that became

the out-of-tune hum older than falling

– you lower this closet door and slowly

your eyes shut –with both hands

make a sign in the air as if death matters.



Breaking apart :this calendar

half as if memory, half

still exploding though the paint

reeks from weather vanes

and rain, last seen

mixed with snow

–without your glasses

you can’t make out if the wind

will dry in time

and a second coat already warms

the way you keep track

by lifting rugs, tables, chairs

–you need the pieces :lids

that will flare up

shake off their cracks

with each brush then back

till nothing ages

even with the window open.


You begin the way shorelines

risk their life this close

though after each funeral


you drown in the row by row

where each photograph is overturned

shaken loose from the family album


–her shoes seem pleased

to be shoes, not walk anymore

or store their darkness for later


–the family was always collecting

wanted you to sit, not pose barefoot

but there you are, even now


standing next to her, eye to eye

without saying a word, would leave

if you knew how to turn away


the blank page, solid black

not a beach, not a breath, nothing

that understands this emptiness.


These bricks reheated

remember circling up

sifting the smoke

for smoke not yet stars

still inside, terrified

by its darkness –chimneys

know to focus the sky closer

as the night that comes due

blackens this hillside

already in place

brought down from under

no longer red –-they aim

the way each shadow

leans against your heart

tries to warm itself

in grasses and your hands

made bigger, so slowly

nothing can save you.


Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review,  The Nation, Poetry, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013).  For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at


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