Issue 20: Simon Perchik



This rotted log yes and no

longs for the stillness

that is not wood though you

are already inside, seated

at a table, a lamp, clinging

the way all light arrives alone

except for the enormous jaws

once shoreline closing in

without water or suddenness

—you lay down a small thing

and the Earth is surrounded, fed

slowly forehead to forehead again.


You reach for lullabies, left over

and the slow crawl half whispers

half where your lips ache, float

the way this empty cup still wobbles

will break apart, overloaded

disguised as two steps closer and alone

then fill your arms with its darkness

seeping through, breathing out

not yet an embrace, not yet the mouth

where your fingers end, surrounded

by more and more dirt, a small room

here, there, there, not yet asleep.



Though it gets dark earlier and earlier

you were already weakened at birth

—without a shrug let go things

the way each grave is graced

used to being slowly moved along

blossom and in your mouth

a somewhat pebble half fruit

half sweetened, not yet

broken apart in your throat

—you can’t make out where in the turn

you are clinging to its path

that led you here, not yet strong enough

or longing for some riverside or rain

or the night by night, warm

still falling off your hands.


You drink from this hole

as if it once was water

became a sky then wider

—without a scratch make room

for driftwood breaking loose

from an old love song in ashes

carried everywhere on foot

as that ocean in your chest

overflowing close to the mouth

that’s tired from saying goodbye

—you dig the way the Earth

is lifted for hillsides and lips

grasping at the heart buried here

still flickering in throats and beacons

that no longer recede –from so far

every word you say owes something

to a song that has nothing left, drips

from your mouth as salt and more salt.

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 in 2017. For more information, including free e-books and his essay titled ‘Magic, Illusion and Other Realities’, please visit his website at