Simon Perchik


Attack and this hillside

shows its teeth :each stone

drips with saliva


and even the glaze

can't tell the difference

—you dig till the sun


enters at last

staggering the way each evening

is burned to the ground


laid bare in the smoke

all stones smell when struck

one against the other


and the dirt dragged away

still struggling

—you only want to share


though your hands won't dry

and each year less room

—you dig as if each hole


is filled with shoreline

could be held back

rebuilt from waves


from valleys and mountain streams

that whiten these stones

with cheeks and emptiness.                   




Still warm and the paint

darkening the way all walls

grieve—in just an hour


another coat though the floor

will cool first

lose its hold and the ground


—you're careful not to touch

where the corpse is listening

comforted with skin and bones


and gloss—over and over

that sing-along-song

where no one weeps


or remembers the words

and you let the roller drip

kept silent for so long.




It must welcome this light

sent up, banished and the sun

overflowing still can't wait


till morning—you will open the door

for something you're not sure, make room

the way a tree rests its branches


higher and higher and the room

kept empty for evenings

on their way back, bone-tired


hollowed out, barren, cold

and the door take in

the darkness :the dying down


and the slow, climbing turn

for which there is no word

no sound or below.




And though the rain has left

tired waiting for the slow descent

become your shadow reaching out


when no one looks—to lure it back

takes deception! you cover the windows

with silk and drop by drop the walls


stay damp while the sky

loses itself in your arms

—it's not your usual clouds


and you jump, afraid you'll drown

one hand held out, the other

kept empty for rain and the floor


making its way back—it works

—your shadow already lifting you

feet first, on your toes


as if it sees the sky surrounded

by other skies, in bits

and this dark place you hide.

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Poetry, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013).  For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities,” please visit his website at



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