ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Simon Perchik

You hold this stone to your cheek
as if you hear the bed
widening and a second pillow

keeping the other half warm
though its bell-scented blanket
is filled with driftwood and snow

covering the Earth each night
with the arm you sleep on 
–she wanted the room cold

calling out from a corner
the way your shadow turns
still faces the wall to remember

where by holding on to stop!
stop it! just stop it! it's the window
that's open and breathing.

You single out this bottle
the way each wish starts
as emptiness and place to place

alone, uncertain she will become
night skies and mountainside
broken open for the river that's late

still drifting along in your chest
and its longing for rain 
–you are listening for water

from the 40s, defenseless
not yet the glass bringing you closer
washing over her, making it happen.

It's what you do, the mirror
becomes a sheet, the bed
is in there somewhere –you squint

and under this frost the glass
is warmed, covers your eyes
even more than tomorrow 

–you end each day inside a hill
on its way to this sink
where without any hope the faucet

holds your hand and all the time
pulls the mist back in
as skies and kisses clouding over

flowing into an empty dress
worn only at night
lets you breathe again 

–without a blanket, without a pillow
you barely see the silence
covering a mouth with your lips.

You were buried in the afternoon
and yet the moon was lost
on its way to the sea –what's left

is each night step by step
swallowing the light it needs
to swell –your grave will brighten soon

grow branches, more names, splash 
–here is that sea and from the night
a grief-stone no bigger than a star

will fall into the waves rising as sunlight
made from sunlight and whitecaps
that pass by as spray that is not shoreline

right and left, smelling from salt
and your shadow with nothing left to let go
shimmering as if something happened.

Her chest no longer listening
though both your arms stay folded
one over the other, wet

the way these dead dare each night
to arrive without them –you stand in front
shirtless, refuse to shake hands

or take from her grave the rocks you left
as a threat to the others not to take what's hers 
not the dirt between the afternoons

not your fingertips, not this rain
growing more and more beautiful
over her breasts, homesick as a flower.


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
To view one of his interviews please follow this link

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