No Title


Without a father or a mother this silence

longs for home the way far-off rocks

come by to soothe you bit by bit and stay


turn your gravestone pointing east

where west should be, round and around

smoothing the Earth for the wind


over and over writing your name in the air

signing away everything –you need this compass

to come back, find the river again


filled without touching your fingers

or the small rock at the top no longer moving

emptied to find you a shore nearby.



You face each afternoon the way this window

becomes a wound, clings to the sill

though in the dark it’s the curtain


that reeks from smoke as the emptiness

sleeves give off when covered with lace

still warm from reaching up for those feathers


mourners leave on the ground to put out roots

know what to do with broken glass

with the hole so close and following.



Though there’s no grave for its shadow

the stone covering your face

has a place for a mouth as the emptiness


that arrives thirsty, tired, side by side

–you dead no longer have cheeks

need a mask and behind its silence


the touch when tears become too heavy

–it was the usual burial –flowers, dirt

and by the handful a shoreline


to keep you from falling –your eyes

use this darkness now for the moons

that long ago stopped passing by.



To end its day you point till the lamp

gives in, darkening as if this time

stars would lay bare at your fingertip


and you hear the room unfold

become a witness that is not a flower

taking you along to see for yourself


what passes for corners and roots

in walls no longer moving –you accuse

and the light backs down slowly and alone.



Only in winter –you dust behind the sound

two people make filling their mouth

with each other’s –it’s a headboard now


reaching for this rag as mist, then wax

then ice where two pillows should be

and though there’s only one you’re cold


wiping wood with your eyes closed, one arm

over the other –single handed already down

then around, taking hold on tiptoe to yourself.




Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent collection is The Osiris Poems published by boxofchalk, 2017. For more information including free e-books and his essay “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at

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