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Simon Perchik


And though the stars came by

what you hear stays wet

for your hands on the rope


waiting till it’s dark –you hang the wash

at night, sure the clothes will dry

–by morning you’ll fill the tub again


with her dress and stir

till the water turns black

smells from sleeves


and the same shoulders

that were always there

with grass that you add later.





You listen the way this stone

senses when its prey

no longer has a pulse


and swallows it whole

though your ears work like that

widen for the embrace


and quiet that afternoon

still wandering the Earth

as rain and those pebbles


a child finds on the beach

–one by one tossed at the sun

or something in between


taking so long to die –what you hear

is losing its breath

is crumbling and in your arms.




You can’t stop, talk

and far from your mouth

wait for the grass


as the same sound

between your fingers

lowering for lips


–you talk the way rope

takes so long to die

–over and over and over


empty your mouth

filling it with thorns

with shoulders, afternoons.




Wild from the cold each splash

is already driftwood

and though you lean into the sink


a single cup anchors on its own

needs to stay in the center

the way every statue is filled


with stones, smells from flowers

and your chest  held close, naked

for stars to scatter what’s left


and the afternoon –petal by petal

you pour from a night

longing to cover your body


as a single shell, around and around

with nothing inside but the ending

always in the same place.




Half iron, half oak, the bed

all night honed on what went wrong

–it’s an axe, striking upside down


though you sleep facing north

side by side an empty dress

shaped into bulls and chariots


with your mouth wide apart

louder and louder getting ready

for the slow descent –you sit


on the edge, trying to bleed

to open the sleeves

still reaching out in the dark.

Simon Perchik.jpg.jpg

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 Osiris Poems published by box of chalk, 2017. For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at

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