Simon Perchik


From among the poisons a box
half cardboard, half wiping the sweat
from your fingertips where you reach in

for the pellets, for that last day
with the lid left open for mice
the way the cashier is used to her uniform

unbuttoned and without looking up
sweetens it with those medals
you want so much to shine

while she slowly leans toward you
must know your hands are suffering
and there’s so much you want to tell her.


Loose inside this rock
its light is surfacing
as driftwood —a sunken ship

hollowed out by waves
by swiping at prey
with night skies and coming back

—it’s a cup you’re holding
arkened from shallow water
and overhead a second moon

draining its still warm shadow
lets you down as drift
—there’s nothing left to swallow

and though its mouth is closed
there is one moon now
for distances, the other, emptiness.


You begin by clinging to its sleeves
the way bats pull back their wings
frayed from a wall made safe

by cobwebs and silence —this closet
becomes a cave, enough darkness
for its echo to return as the damp stone

still eating its prey —here is her dress
invisible and though your fingers are bruised
they bleed and nothing more.


Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Poetry, Osiris, 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 and his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities,” please visit his website.