White Whale Review: An Online Literary Magazine Untitled Document
Simon Perchik
Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The New Yorker and elsewhere. He is the author of 20 books of poetry, including Hands Collected: The Books of Simon Perchik (Poems 1949-1999) (Pavement Saw Press, 2000), The Autochthon Poems (Split/Shift, 2001), and the forthcoming Family of Man (Pavement Saw Press). His work appeared in issue 1.3 of White Whale Review.

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Simon Perchik




And on this table

another chance :the loaf

whose grain last Fall was crushed


—with one hand! you could hear

the Earth breaking open to cool

become brittle, then bone

then meat from a lamb, warm winds

and one promise more.


Perhaps it's enough —Just Esther

clearly, slowly, your name

with just one finger reaching out

one small breath spelling your name

softly on these still warm crumbs

—on the rickety wood table

centered in this room :an axle

creaking with straw and salt

and that one word



Simon Perchik

as if all your words and this lamb

come back, the table whole, fresh

already growing leaves, filling the room

with skies and branches reaching everywhere.

Simon Perchik


Until we are hid at last —Death knows

our eyes must be lowered first —we don't see her

though the soft stones against our forehead

as every mother has kissed her child goodnight

then covered the crib with centuries and readiness

—all our life this darkness almost a scent

from trust and who-knows-where.


At last the silence that waits

as if it were a place, a majesty washing over us

with some irresistible hillside, a quiet fire

more and more restful and hugging the warm continents

closer —we almost hear their shores

their night after night we remember as waves

and the hushing rain that held us close.

Simon Perchik


The shirt kept lifeless, tied

by its neck, pants torn, worndown shoes

held tight with string —I bring along

hot cocoa and the usual sleeping pill


though a withered song gets me in sooner.

With each visit, before anything, I ask

for someone remembered only as sky

and combing for rain, slowly one side

more than the other —where else


can a song —by morning the rain

reshaped and my whisper is filled

with your eyelashes

as if you were there and lost the way.


Where did I begin this singing

while the warm cup, barely a mouth

or your breast held by a cold, white sleeve

—before anything! closer, closer



Simon Perchik

a man without hands, without memory

—there's still a trace

a now-and-then sheer from some primordial sea


—a senseless off-center where rest

is needed most, and light —all night

till I almost drown sorting the rain

and kisses gone back to your throat.

Simon Perchik


With those hefty walls a bank

will save forever

—no one is running away.

You leave a flower

to take root :her grave

under construction, the 3 X 5 card

the wood stave —by Spring

her name in thickset stone

and you can trust this place.


The walking away never ends

—each night the way a wolf yodels

lifts the moon closer

—jaws apart, your hairs bristle

rear up —your chest seems huge.

They leave you alone



Simon Perchik

a monster! hunched full length

braced with a flimsy stick

and the soft hum when to meet

—you walk away even when the bus

will stop, when the driver is new

not used to your enormous throat

overflowing with moonlight

and anything is possible


—you will meet and her grave

open up for all the world

the way a mother fills both breasts

—twins are still expected


and now the Earth has been enlarged

has already begun to breathe —the foam

still in your mouth

calling her name loose and the stone.

Simon Perchik


Four in the morning and the dog

wants to talk about her dream

afraid to stop in the middle


—the barking smells from salt

wants to be brushed and the sky

made ready, shown to someone


before morning arrives —I calm her fur

to lay down the way an echo

is trained to retrieve, waving


to something I can't see. It's no use.

I need a glass, a spoon

but the tea no matter how near


darkens with each goodbye —I need

to set the dog adrift :an island

on all sides left facing a great sea



Simon Perchik

warning me where sleep is treacherous

and the mist, louder and louder

wanting to come home.











Copyright © Simon Perchik. White Whale Review, issue 2.1

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