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Simon Perchik



All those nights two suns running free

– with a clear look at each other

could see how bright her face becomes

when the window pane unfolds on fire

spreads out that long-ago afternoon

end over end though the shade

is reaching for the sill – a constellation

and still her arms are frozen open

as if this snapshot was trying to breathe twice

make you think you are covering her eyes

are in the room alone, holding on to what’s left

letting it flicker, wait for something in the light

to move closer together, fit into her mouth

so it can see you as the bed no longer made

as the wall and empty picture frame.


This coffee is still learning, spills

sweetens night after night

the way fireflies flavor their legs

then wait for the rippling hum

that’s not a bat – you teach this cup

smoke, emptiness and what it’s like

to lean across as come right in

let you sip from the black dress

spreading out as mountainside

– with your eyes closed, with honey

you convince this cup to clasp your hand

move it closer to the other

though the darkness already smells

from flypaper, from your elbows

holding on to the wooden table.


You start the way this faucet drips

– piece by piece give back

an afternoon no longer moving

never know what it would become

or how to turn back – each drop

wants to be the last, arrive alone

– it’s the usual sink, reaching down

to find a place in the Earth for you

for the rinds and peels and evening

that has no place else to go

– what’s missing is the sun

near trees, on some hillside

where it would build another grave

from cornerstones and broken dishes

with nights pressed one against the other.


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

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