Simon Perchik

You can’t hold back this knob
already resistant to sunlight
filling your lungs

the way all the firewood on Earth
waits in these clouds
as cries and ruin

and though the sky is aging
you hurry through, each breath
weak in the doorway

covers it with a lid
half lit, half spreading out
to open, close and you

are breathing for two, the air
given some mist
to find its way home.

Depending on the height, dust
is colder in the morning
though once you tuck the rag

it’s the shelf that staggers
pulls you closer and slowly
smothered by something damp

made from lips, shoulders
and the invisible breathing
into pieces, smaller and smaller

till the air around your heart
won’t let go this wood
no longer days or falling.

Where the sky dries up
these sunflowers scale back
though just as easily

you could take a chance
trap this rain left over
growing wild the way each petal

breathes in while laying down
where your mouth would be
come from a name

written on a tree
clasping it and the sun
not yet a wound that oozes

–you could drink from a slope
and place by place tame this mud
to bend, gather in wells

scented with melting stones
and the darkness
you no longer want to stop.

This wall is for the map, the rest
to separate the distances
as if they had a beginning, would forget

someone didn’t write it down
the way the calendar, by heart
will reach around what happens after

and still recognize a simple shoreline
hidden between the unused years
that no longer protect you

though you let them hold on
as if places mattered
–a single wall, the nail

even when bleeding from its mouth
points out where you are
the rivers and the others.

With the bedrock it needs
though this city was built
on rainwater :shards

pieced together the way pots
imbedded in ancient dirt
let these dead drink by steps

from stone scented with curtains
still damp except for evenings
lowered by hand into the last drop

and foothold –pole to pole
is what the graves remember
as bone, take hold till your arms

fill with towers looming past
and under the marble cliffs
the finishing stroke.

Copyright  ©  2014 Simon Perchik


Simon 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, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at