Two Poems by Simon Perchik


For a time, carefully reduced
as if these shoes were watertight
and each pricetag pointing out

–you don’t know where to dig
though dirt must mean something
motionless under the exact place

that could be anyone
the way nothing in this shop window
is left standing, needs more dirt

more and more and the hillside
that always falls backwards
refuses to get up, no longer tries

and all these passers-by two by two
in your arms already opened
for so many dead from just one grave.



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.

Simon Perchik’s work has appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, The New Yorker and elsewhere.