Untitled – Simon Perchik


This is it –a match, wood, lit

the way a butterfly returns

by warming its wings wider


and wider, one against the other

then waits for the gust to spew out

as smoke lifting you to the surface


–this single match circling down

half on fire, half held close

is heating your grave, has roots


–embrace it, become a flower

fondle the ashes word by word

that erupt from your mouth


as an old love song, a breeze

worn away by hills and the light

coming back then lying down.


It’s not the sink –what you hear

is the sun all night calling its mothers

though their embrace still arrives


as thirst and the morning –two stars

brighter and brighter till the sun

is born at the exact minute it needs


to bury its darkness in the fragrance

smoke gives off as clouds and the longing

for rain rising from the sea –you splash


and between each finger its shadow

begins to breathe, is hugging you

with the wet towel and its hidden body.


This cup listening for shells is filled

and emptied as if the waves inside

are making room for the slow, wide turn


that won’t let go –you drink from a spoon

dug in the way a fossil is pulled down

takes refuge as stone that falls by itself


–arm over arm you cling to the side

not yet the rocks mourners will lure

as shoreline sweetened with sea grass.


and though the table is wood it’s trembling

circles down for smoke coming to life

where standing water should be.


You are always afternoons

flowering slowly around this stone

as light –you can see


who was here, who wept

who left with both fists

holding your last breath


that’s still not over, warming it

for the kisses two by two

lowered into your mouth


the way an evening will listen

to anyone who promises

your arms will separate again


take in a hundred rivers

bringing you an old love song

and not know who, who?


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.

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 Weston Poems published by Cholla Needles Arts & Literary Library, 2020. For more information including free e-books and his essay “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.