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). For more information, including his essay “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” and a complete bibliography, please visit his website at simonperchik.com. His work appeared in issues 1.3 and 2.1 of White Whale Review.

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Simon Perchik

Three Poems



Dorian's lips in ruins

and the slow song

that never catches up —her son


not yet named, almost weightless

born with a bone already broken

and his arm left to heal.


Perhaps he will remember

how sometimes even the sea

needs more room, even that tiny hand


wanting to take hold the world

—perhaps with a name, made whole

by a sound that left some far coast


shipwrecked, to make an offer.

The doctors say but what

do they know about untested currents?



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He needs to be called! to be joined

and to her cries

his unfolding heart.


Simon Perchik


Each Halloween and lifting the door

I back away in horror, throwing apples

—the dead are always hungry

but on this night already icing over

they come without moving their lips


—even these sweets smell from ashes

from snow burning to the ground and you

are water now, wandering door to door

the way mountainsides sometimes forget

and nothing can be heard

except this thin waxpaper, unfolded

crackling in my hands.


For this first frost

I set a trap :your grave

as if some candy bar once unsealed

would flow again —with each step

I'm falling through the Earth

overtaking name by name.


You did not come tonight, the dirt

must still be warm from fruit


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and sandwiches —at the door

with one hand out

I tell something to eat

not to forget where it eats

where it sleeps and in half.

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Again a lull across my cheek

another line that can't be crossed

—each side the wound

mourners in tight hats

trek single file, invisible

—with one precise somersault


the surgeon lifts from my face

where once your kiss growing monstrous

was half around the sun —one cheek

asleep behind some sheet

created from the light

from singing in a circle.


You hear the blade

longing to reach my lips

bend from holding on —end over end

the way a juggler works the high wire

reaches out for wings

that can't stop spinning.


You would think this hospital staff

and even the costumes


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come from Ringling Brothers

from that over and over dream

where the sun now larger than ever

is lowered with you

with the marching songs, the elephant

balanced on a balloon, hind legs midair

reaching out, trying to cross over


from that ground that never lets go

the way an acrobat still practices

for that flight and the sun

each night deeper, deeper —even you


hear some nurse tighten the wide strap

—with a flourish, testing for safety

and the sky leap off

to the side, used to it.




Copyright © Simon Perchik. White Whale Review, issue 3.1

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