ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


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.



With each hand the same turn
you learned to take apart
put together, tighten

and though the wrench holds on
the tire's slowly going flat
the only way you know how

–you let go, circle
spring-like, for keeps
around the pin-hole leak

already planes falling into place
as a training song from the 40s
louder and louder, struggling for air

–at last the tire goes down
half under the ground
where you need both wrists

the way flowers wilt and each breath
takes in more smoke, still black
on course, end over end, almost there.                                       



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.



Again your shadow loose in the attic
as if more light could help
coming for old letters, broken frames

not sure what was torn apart
has healed by now, hidden
as sharp corners though you

still expect the some days
to climb alongside and the height
save them –it's storage work

later work –Esther and you
on a pony that almost remembers the dust
it carried all the way down.


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

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