On the way up this darkness
must sense it’s more wax
letting the varnish take forever

though you count how high
a second time – these shelves
aren’t restless enough, here

for the fire all wood is sent for
– in every room! caskets
stacked as if from behind

the wall would reach around
smelling from bark, roots
and the uncontrollable embrace

heating your cheek the way rain
returns to lower its face on the dirt
that never moves: these boards

kept open for a dry rag
all night rubbing your forehead
darker and darker, almost there.



From just dampness, nourishment
and rust seals the bolt
in place – the carriage

already there and nearby, it rains
though you take hold a single spoke
as if the enchanted palace

stopped moving – why is it
a parent favors the weak one
and the crib early on

strengthened with blankets, around
and around the way they dance
in fairy tales scented with midnights

with a gate half iron, half
this wrench, its gardens, ponds
no longer coming apart.



You come by as if this dirt was once
the ceiling, thankful on small apartments
though these dead at the last minute

open the doors alone
and from each room the great cry
already smells from rock and avalanche

– you listen for flowers though these handfuls
could make the difference
the walls the faces and echoes.



Even in the dark
your shadow is slipping away
covering the floor with rain

and what’s saved once the night
overflows – hold me! put a stop
to arms that are not arms

no longer can close the door
from so far off, nothing
though you cling to a board

that has no one inside to bury
is clenched between your teeth
and the black coat dragged

by water, by this single window
for hours circling to come down
look for glass and the others.



Not lace – a saucer
and this table spreading out
overflows the way stars

are cooled, made feeble
need to be lifted from under
as if any rim kept shallow

would spiral down
let you enter the turn
at floodstage and shoreline

– a lens! and its stench
brings your mouth closer
can be seen opening

covering your face, sealing it
with this small dish: a distant sore
coming unraveled, leaves nothing

to chance, expects your lips to go in
kiss it, drink it, stretch it
enough to reach its skim and heal.


[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 Rosenblum 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. To view one of his interviews please follow this link. ]

Copyright © 2020 by Simon Perchik, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.