by Simon Perchik  

Hiding on this tiny rock
its light is falling arm over arm
brought down as hammer blows

and mountains clinging to the sun
the way mourners will gather
and aim for your forehead

–it’s not right for you dead
to lower your eyes once they’re empty
–they have so much darkness

are still looking for tears
and all around you the Earth
splitting open a single afternoon

up close –you are touching seawater
without anything left inside
to take the salt from your mouth.

Between the tall grasses and water holes
the next hiss would be its last
though you splash these iron bars

with no way out and wait
smell from smoke and death
–it’s a cheap grill, made for a backyard

and the need for constant water
as another word for leaving
–you burn with ashes

taking hold the emptiness
to let the fire go
become airborne :a season

among the others, fitted inside
two rivers, close to clouds
where there was none before.

You stir this can before it opens
as the promise a frog makes
when asking for a kiss :the paint

warmer and warmer will become
an afternoon with room for mountains
and breezes close to your shoulder

though that’s not how magic works
–there’s the wave, the hand to hand
spreading out between the silence

and your fingers dressed with gloves
as if it was a burden and the brush
raising your arm the way this wall

needs a color that will dry by itself
leave a trace :a shadow not yet lovesick
no longer its blanket and cure.

With the rigging that lowers sails
you dead anchor :every grave
becomes a full-blown sea

though you keep dry
the way rafters are gathered
for dust as a place to rest

be showered by minute by minute
and the small sparks mourners leave
to jump-start the night sky

–between two afternoons
you are burning rope
as if there was a name for it

and now, lit, where nothing shines
but this shadow you let come closer
stay, tired from the start.

All those nights two suns running free
–with a clear look at each other
could see how bright her face becomes

when the window pane unfolds on fire
spreads out that long-ago afternoon
end over end though the shade

is reaching for the sill –a constellation
and still her arms are frozen open
as if this snapshot was trying to breathe twice

make you think you are covering her eyes
are in the room alone, holding on to what’s left
letting it flicker, wait for something in the light

to move closer together, fit into her mouth
so it can see you as the bed no longer made
as the wall and empty picture frame.

About the Author:

photo by Rosetti 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 at