Issue 24: Simon Perchik



On the way up this darkness

must sense it’s more wax

letting the varnish take forever

though you count how high

a second time – these shelves

aren’t restless enough, here

for the fire all wood is sent for

– in every room! caskets

stacked as if from behind

the wall would reach around

smelling from bark, roots

and the uncontrollable embrace

heating your cheek the way rain

returns to lower its face on the dirt

that never moves: these boards

kept open for a dry rag

all night rubbing your forehead

darker and darker, almost there.


From just dampness, nourishment

and rust seals the bolt

in place – the carriage

already there and nearby, it rains

though you take hold a single spoke

as if the enchanted palace

stopped moving – why is it

a parent favors the weak one

and the crib early on

strengthened with blankets, around

and around the way they dance

in fairy tales scented with midnights

with a gate half iron, half

this wrench, its gardens, ponds

no longer coming apart.


You come by as if this dirt was once

the ceiling, thankful on small apartments

though these dead at the last minute

open the doors alone

and from each room the great cry

already smells from rock and avalanche

– you listen for flowers though these handfuls

could make the difference

the walls the faces and echoes.


Even in the dark

your shadow is slipping away

covering the floor with rain

and what’s saved once the night

overflows – hold me! put a stop

to arms that are not arms

no longer can close the door

from so far off, nothing

though you cling to a board

that has no one inside to bury

is clenched between your teeth

and the black coat dragged

by water, by this single window

for hours circling to come down

look for glass and the others.


Not lace – a saucer

and this table spreading out

overflows the way stars

are cooled, made feeble

need to be lifted from under

as if any rim kept shallow

would spiral down

let you enter the turn

at floodstage and shoreline

– a lens! and its stench

brings your mouth closer

can be seen opening

covering your face, sealing it

with this small dish: a distant sore

coming unraveled, leaves nothing

to chance, expects your lips to go in

kiss it, drink it, stretch it

enough to reach its skim and heal.

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 Rosenblum Poems published by Cholla Needles Arts and Literary Library, 2020. For more information including free e-books and his essay ‘Magic, Illusion and Other Realities’ visit his website.

Watch one of his interviews

Copyright © 2020 by Simon Perchik, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.