Monday 5 August 2013

3 Poems by Simon Perchik

As if your death is not yet the same weight
traps count on though you are leaning back
putting dirt in your mouth while to the last

pebbles come by to shelter you, lie down
-you will have to die some more, brought
this far by what moonlight has to say
about holding on -you have to eat from a

that's opened till your grave is too heavy,
broken into for each goodbye hidden away

as the breath clinging to footstones that
past, throwing a cloud over you, boarded up
as mountainside and so many deaths at once

-here even rain is comforted to keep you dry

-whole families sitting down, waiting for
to walk in, forget something somewhere else.

A lone whistle cut short and this chair
waits till its wheels, half iron, half the
way trains
are calmed on gravel beds, let you push

till everything you gather smells from steam
from a mouth that is not yours -doze off!
the rails
will carry you between Spring and this

filled with shoreline that no longer moves
and yes, the shadow is yours, bit by bit the
you'll need, built from homelessness and no

to sit near your heart, hear how weak its
breathing is
windswept and the sky unstoppable, taking on
and not sure why it's going down inside you.

And though it's your hands that are cold you
with slippers on, weighed down the way
change places to show what death will be

before it gets dark -even in bed you limp,
the blanket
backing away and you hang on, want to be
still standing yet you can't remember if
it's more rain

or just that your fingers are wet from
falling in love
and every time they pass your lips it's
these slippers
that save you from drowning, let you go on,

something that is not dressed in white,
as the warm breath thrown over the headboard
smelling from cemeteries without moving your


Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” and a complete bibliography, please visit his website at

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