Five Poems

by Simon Perchik

And though the flames are hidden
you still drink it black –spoons
are useless, aimlessly circle down

the way you once added cream, sugar
clouds –you level off so your hand
takes longer to climb back

let the cup burn your lips
as sunlight wedged between –you yell
though no one becomes suspicious

sees the fire starting up again
–it’s a simple first-thing-in-the-morning
so no one is the wiser and sometimes

a darker darkness is lured alongside
where you tighten till this cup begins
its slow turn into madness and your arms.

You bang the rim the way skies
loosen and this jar at last
starts to open, becomes a second sky

though under the lid her shoulders
wait for air, for the knock
with no horizon curling up on itself

as sunlight, half far off, half
circling down from her arms
end over end, reaching around

making room by holding your hand
–it’s a harmless maneuver
counter clockwise so you never forget

exactly where the dirt was shattered
hid its fragrance and stars
one at a time taking forever.

Even with a fence the darkness
never heals, comes and goes
the way each star circles this gate

reclaims the Earth with a chain
half one by one, half
where all the dead clasp hands

and still this wound won’t close
though you cover her cheeks
with dirt that must be carried

smells from rain and loneliness
before burning to the ground
and all these stars arm in arm

clinging to the same small stone
light-years away, crumbling
as if these scattered graves

closer and closer will suddenly return
made whole as the first sunrise
then leave without her or you.

You have to let them fall
though once the ground cools
–this toaster is used to it

sure each slice will climb
side by side and even alone
you wear a fleece-lined jacket

set the timer left to right
the way the first sunrise
turned from what was left

–it’s still warm inside
and each hillside –you expect them
to burn, to break apart midair

making the room the dead
no longer need
though there’s no forgetting

why this crust just through
two graves, yours
and alongside in the dirt

brought to the surface
as the cold bread
that no longer hopes for anything.

Holding on to the others this hillside
knows what it is to live alone
all these years falling off-center

though you no longer follow
still back away till your hands
and the dirt once it’s empty

both weigh the same –a small stone
can even things out
the way this casket on each end

leans toward shoreline, smells
from a sky unable to take root
or balance the Earth, half

with no one to talk to, half
just by moving closer –what you trim
floats off as that embrace all stone

is born with, covered
till nothing moves inside
except the lowering that drains forever.


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 Osiris Poems published by box of chalk, 2017. For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at




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