Simon Perchik

You never get used to it
left and right –moonlight
all that’s left on your grave

each night heavier, bitter
with no place to fall
sometimes as snow, sometimes

counting on pebbles from others
all night bringing stars
to strike the ground over and over

covering you with shadows
and still you’re cold
come here as paths and distances.


To live like that, listening
as the sudden dive to the bottom
and though your mouth longs for a sea

death happens wherever water goes
–you hear the rain passing by
with shells and salt flaking off

from a dress that is still new
covered with moss and grieving
–you slip your hand through

as if each sleeve over and over
is filled with moss not yet blossoming
where the branches at the top

dig themselves in, opening the Earth
and the small stones that are your lips
filled with falling and thirst.


What you hear is your chest –with each crackle
more rain tearing holes in the sky
still struggling to open –your heart

sloshes around, growing salt from grass
kept wet the way dirt takes the shape
you use for shadows when there’s no water

–you stretch out naked as the ocean
on and on without stopping to breathe
or dry or arm over arm become the last

the slow climbing turn still missing
circling to calm a nothing beach fire
going mouth to mouth to burn itself out.



Simon PerchikSimon 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