Simon Perchik

At last and the bare wood
half maple, half before morning
though this rag is already wet

caught up in a seedy summer rain
heated on a table not yet mountainside
wobbling, battered by waiting streams

trying to hold on, drink from a surface
sweetened by water –you lower the cup
face down, help it look for dirt

for its fragrance all night closing in
warmer and warmer alongside a dress
shrunk to fit the soft rim

running naked between your teeth
and dead mornings, around and around
squeezing the sleeves till they go black

the way this washcloth stares in the dark
for a sea to break open, by itself
find mud, the small puddle, her arms.

You hold this stone to your cheek
as if you hear the bed
widening and a second pillow

keeping the other half warm
though its bell-scented blanket
is filled with driftwood and snow

covering the Earth each night
with the arm you sleep on
–she wanted the room cold

calling out from a corner
the way your shadow turns
still faces the wall to remember

where by holding on to stop!
stop it! just stop it!
it’s the window
that’s open and breathing.

You single out this bottle
the way each wish starts
as emptiness and place to place

alone, uncertain she will become
night skies and mountainside
broken open for the river that’s late

still drifting along in your chest
and its longing for rain
–you are listening for water

from the 40s, defenseless
not yet the glass bringing you closer
washing over her, making it happen.

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

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 Gibson Poems published by Cholla Needles Arts & Literary Library, 2019. For more information including free e-books and his essay “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website.

View one of his interviews here.

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