ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Simon Perchik


Though when you wash
the roof no longer leaks
–a missing stream

lets you rest alongside a sink
that's not the bed in your chest
helping you breathe when it's dark

and one faucet more than the other
flattens out the way her dress
is kept warm, if folded

over and over as if each splash
lasts, waits only where these sleeves
empty as time after time.


You paper the sun –with both hands
bury the ashes though the time hasn't come
for shadows –what you darken

sooner or later becomes your fingertips
still warm, wanting to spread
as winters, be harvested

from a sky already half stone
half so often covered with snow
–you cling to a grave

that has no grass yet
is setting out and for a while
across the ground and the others.



Just a sip and your hand is shaped
by a sea that overflowed as the habit
you had forgotten until now

though you drain this cup for its tilt
sure the Earth will go along, be patient
weightless, comfort your lips

with the emptiness it lifts to your ear
then says goodbye for the same hot breath
you are no longer swallowing –twice a day

you grip this cup and the table too
is wobbling –it's already evening
and in your mouth a second voice

waits stranded among the ice floes
that never melted –you wipe the spill
till no one is left to listen for.



You grip this flashlight
the wai a telescope pulls in
the darkness, aches

as if a second moon
was hidden underit
though what's odd

is this stunted shrubbery
so easily turned to stone
the way these dead

shoulder to shoulder
smell from salt –two batteries
boiling the night, softening it

for the trajectory they need
are sloping this hillside
to reachout as the light

that's second hand
disguised as an afternoon
with tears and shorelines.



There are no splinters though this door
is still making room for the sea
to come inside –even without water

these walls become sails, their corners
opening as if this pillow
is reaching out where two should be

–more ships! armadas half canvas
half behind each window shade
where someone is crying from lips

that never dry, sweat when turning a knob
hollowing it out the way you dead
let each other in –one by one

learning to rise to the surface
as walls and underneath
unforlding your arms for more wood.

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 Reflection in a Glass Eye ¬†published by Cholla Needles Arts & Literary Library, 2020. 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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