Literary Orphans

5 Untitled Poems by Simon Perchik


This dirt still mimics sweat

lies down alongside, unsure

your lips would quiet it


though the finger that is familiar

probably is yours –could be enough

has already learned to point


–in time it will silence

even your shadow

without pulling it back down


as sunsets passing by

no longer some shoreline

unable to stop for these pebbles


struggling to rise together, take you

by the hand and without a sound

recognize the gesture.



With each glove almost the same

You look face to face

For a place to jump


–you don’t see the bridge

though these weeds

are used to winter


slip from your fingers

the way this sky

no longer has room


and each raindrop

suddenly white, already stone

grown huge :each floe


inscribed and with a single name

warms this hillside

midair, brings these dead


a river that flows again

filled as if its shoreline

is pulling you down, shows you where.



You try to imagine the mirror

though there was an understanding

the jacket would not show through


and you could lift your chin

into the same wingspan

that hangs over this frost


just now coming in

already in front, same place

same time and at each get-together


the jacket tags along

as if it and the skyline

for a long time had been one


could reach across, cover your arms

with ice and any minute now

–what year is this? your shadow


still wants its back to the sun

already melted down

so it can leave even in winter


as that single-minded descent

sent ahead

and everything open.



This still warm shopping bag

emptied the way all sculpture

reminds you what it lost


though when you step back

what you see between the jars

is its dried-up riverbed


shaping the Earth, its breeze

just now forming

doesn’t yet have the need


for those same airfields

you look for in grocery aisles

take from the shelves


these damp boxes side by side

where you say nothing about rain

till the air you breathe out


has nothing left, by hand

you pull from its place

the sky you saved for last.



Step by step each morning

is everywhere at once, closing in

and though you count on it


you begin to bake instead

takes classes as if the sun

has room for another sun


and its crust at last break open

for air –after each funeral

you learn to make crumbs


–with just two fingers

held close the way the Earth

is emptied by a small stone


kept warm in your mouth

and once set out with you

closer to the ground.

O Typekey Divider

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Poetry, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013). For more information, free e-books and his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at

Simon Perchik

O Typekey Divider

–Art by Marta Bevacqua

–Art by Alphan Yýlmazmaden

–Art by Seamus Travers