ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


New Poems by Simon Perchik


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.



The words you dead were promised
never come –even now
what you want to say so much

hasn't a chance –deal with it! your stone
has no strength left, has room
only for your name and the years

you took to spell it, to keep the bargain
meant for two mouths pressed against 
the silence, then nothing: the shell

songbirds dig holes through
sending its light as the small stones
side by side telling you why.


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 box of chalk, 2017. For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled "Magic, Illusion and Other Realities" please visit his website at  His work has appeared several times in Offcourse; see Five New Poems in #63, December 2015.

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