Three Poems by Simon Perchik

23 April 2021 on Poetry   Tags:

You wipe one stain against another
reminding this napkin to start storing fat
for winter and the night ahead

a quiet swipe, simple so its edges
slow down, are dozing off
already dreaming about a mouth

getting ready and your wife alive
again baking your favorite cake
the one with layers to keep it warm

for the soft smells helping you eat alone
what could be icing or between your fingers
her dress, once it's unfolded, spreads out

on this table getting ready to snow
is watching you eat from a shovel
left on the ground taking root in the cold.

Except for the captain's hat
you're homeless, gathering bottles
where a sea should be, half

in this washed up grocery cart, half
still wobbling as the sound
sails make when emptied from inside

would spot you slipping into the water
for safe keeping the way years ago
can be found still beating in your hands

as shoreline, finished and complete
asking for directions, something back, point
where rescue was no longer there.

Pulled from under the others, this city
was built with ashes, fertility dolls
its gates were carved then locked

made smooth on a mountain side
and the sound a shovel carries away
as the heaviness that is now dirt

helps you dead find a place and stay
overlooking the wall where you can watch
hold on to a stone that no longer opens

giving it time to catch fire, fit into the air
the way flames, over and over, wave goodbye
one on top another, still trying to fly.

Simon Perchik's poetry has appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, The New Yorker and elsewhere. You can learn more about him and his work at

Digital image: "Out to Sea" by Heather White. Heather White is a blossoming digital artist, with a background in the performing arts. She enjoys drawing and painting a variety of landscapes and illustrations inspired by nature, and life experience. Follow her work on Twitter @heather_art_ and Instagram @okyogaflo.

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