Six Untitled Poems


Simon Perchik

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 126 in 2011.


Even these weeds panic
circle around your fingertips
as if the stream they fasten on

knows only one direction –the dead
still fold their arms, dare you
to raise your hand, ask for salt

clear the ground before the no! no!
stops and in the silence makes room
for flowers and your mouth

sweetened by the warm breath
it still remembers as sunlight
struggling and the pull up! pull up!



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.



A ritual spray –two fingers
dripping from a small cup
to pull it closer

–you need more emptiness
though it’s the leaves
squeezing their prey underwater

the way your fever
feeds on shoreline and foam
from an enormous moon

leaving the sea still naked
–drop by drop what’s left
is struggling on the floor

kept wet for its cry
swallowed whole as driftwood
scented with night after night.



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.



It’s what you do, the mirror
becomes a sheet, the bed
is in there somewhere –you squint

and under this frost the glass
is warmed, covers your eyes
even more than tomorrow

–you end each day inside a hill
on its way to this sink
where without any hope the faucet

holds your hand and all the time
pulls the mist back in
as skies and kisses clouding over

flowing into an empty dress
worn only at night
lets you breathe again

–without a blanket, without a pillow
you barely see the silence
covering a mouth with your lips.



You were buried in the afternoon
and yet the moon was lost
on its way to the sea –what’s left

is each night step by step
swallowing the light it needs
to swell –your grave will brighten soon

grow branches, more names, splash
–here is that sea and from the night
a grief-stone no bigger than a star

will fall into the waves rising as sunlight
made from sunlight and whitecaps
that pass by as spray that is not shoreline

right and left, smelling from salt
and your shadow with nothing left to let go
shimmering as if something happened.