Simon Perchik



You gargle the way each morning
trusts the soft rustle from a dress
becoming dirt, set out on foot

looking for her in shadows
that no longer move though the sink
is covered with something weak

making believe it’s learned where
your fingers are holding the bottle
in a place not even it will remember

how empty your mouth is, lost
day after day spitting into the Earth
that still opens when you whisper to it.



You water her grave with words
—they never dried, were written
at night, sure this stone

would rot inside the note
though you don’t fold your arms
—what spills has eddies, swells

shorelines reaching into the Earth
no longer certain—this stone
doesn’t recognize itself

is growing roots, sags
becomes a sea, the bottom
holds on, unable to stand

or come closer, cover her
without seeing your fingers
or what it’s like.



Hiding on this tiny rock
its light is falling arm over arm
brought down as hammer blows

and mountains clinging to the sun
the way mourners will gather
and aim for your forehead

—it’s not right for you dead
to lower your eyes once they’re empty
—they have so much darkness

are still looking for tears
and all around you the Earth
splitting open a single afternoon

up close—you are touching seawater
without anything left inside
to take the salt from your mouth.


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, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at