The Tower Journal

Simon Perchik


One headstone leaning against another
float though neither moves
taking root the way these flowers

wait for someone under the ground
soothed by gust after gust
from a sky that feels at home

dug itself down as the first tide
planted in business-like rows
still beating, wandering through

and back to rest in your arms
that remember rain as moonlight
overdue, left hanging, tired this time.


With each hand the same turn
you learned to take apart
put together, tighten

and though the wrench holds on
the tire's slowly going flat
the only way you know how

–you let go, circle
spring-like, for keeps
around the pin-hole leak

already planes falling into place
as a training song from the 40s
louder and louder, struggling for air

–at last the tire goes down
half under the ground
where you need both wrists

the way flowers wilt and each breath
takes in more smoke, still black
on course, end over end, almost there.


Not a chance! the gate
tries to open though rust
was already mixed in, drifting

till the Earth lay alongside
too weak to turn back
the way the lines on your palms

still flow close to riverbanks
and longing, struggle to pull
this mud soaked ironwork

into the darkness and turns
that stayed in the air
after it became the sky

even in the daytime
–you almost see the gate move
and with both hands, yell

you're working on it, yell
anything! how the latch
is just about to loosen, yell

so the fence breaks apart
wading in dirt no longer the rain
that never lets go all the way down.


Again your shadow loose in the attic
as if more light could help
coming for old letters, broken frames

not sure what was torn apart
has healed by now, hidden
as sharp corners though you

still expect the some days
to climb alongside and the height
save them –it’s storage work

later work –Esther and you
on a pony that almost remembers the dust
it carried all the way down.


Before water was water it grieved
word by word the way each woman
caresses her first child

though what you hear is its mist
washing over those breasts
as moonlight and riverbanks

no longer struggling –by instinct
your lips will claim the Earth
with the kiss that gives each birth

its scent and between your arms
clings with just its bones
–with each kiss you drink

then weep and the dirt already rain
helps you remember nothing else
between your thirst and breathing.

Copyright © 2014  Simon Perchik

Simon PerchikSimon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Poetry, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013). For more information, free e-books and his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at

Photo by Rossetti Perchik, A.I.A.

The Tower Journal
Spring/Summer 2014