Simon Perchik

Five Poems


This stone has no shadow yet
though it turns to you
as if the dirt no longer keeps it warm

—this small it needs to be held
is learning to cry in the open
no older than this morning

covered with frost and side by side
—it clings to you, watches the dead
make room for it and between their arms

become the sun whose pieces
are now your heart, part lost
part falling back, these.


The moon behind the moon
works its huge tides
the way you rotate this switch

and the wall still warm
dims, struggles to hold on
as the silt and afterglow

you use for coastline :a mouth
where the knob stops
condemned to circle back

—without thinking! you peel
and slowly a great darkness
drifts over you, whispers

though it is already hiding
another shadow, pulling it
closer, still weak, has her forehead.


These fences, half done, half
still counting the afternoons
that return alone and those

with no way out –the dead
must like it here, come by
bring the family, lawns, let you

get to know the neighbor’s
birthdays, what they remember
—this colony has built its city

on staves broken off as sunlight
that looks away though the gate
is open, used to your shadow

spreading out to cool, holding off
step by step where the name goes
when you give it back and in shame.


You wait as if every river
begins in ice, then moonlight
seeping slowly through

—you don’t wait! the coffee
is sweeping all Earth
on its side, both poles

flowing into the equator
and what you swallow
is already shoreline

huddled around this table
and your lips in the open
the way small stones are left

to help the dead wander back
as the dim light they make
and any morning now.


You can tell by the heat
though they long ago gave up
the search for water and air

and with every death another
comes to this dry riverbed
already hillside, warmed

by some invisible spore
deep inside and your hands
around it, closed

the way each footpath slows
still gathering the others
who take too long in the curve

—all these rocks! and the dirt
peels off till what you hear
is everywhere the sun

not yet born and in your arms
bit by bit broken apart
with care and mornings.

Simon Perchik’s poetry has appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, The New Yorker and elsewhere.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.