simon perchik




All evening by itself
and weightless cradlesong
--I fill the warm sink
the way I would a bag
--there's a certain care
to dip the eyes into paper

--don't ask my why --I bathe your envelope
till a cheek falls away --I save
only the canceled seals, your letters
burning in a shallow bowl near the water

near the smoke drifting across this sink
making up new water I don't recognize
or why this useless postage stamp
is rescued --it was the sky calling out
was the eyes.

I lift this stamp to lay it down
one by one, softer than when
between the cemetery rows
and all those orderly lines
across the powerless stone and my eyes

--you send and what's left is all evening
another death :each letter
with all its heart the lullaby
about its heart, about its missing arms
--this plume in search for the disappeared
the missing stamp and glue

--you send and all night
--don't ask my why --I just let the water
--I have this fear, this passed upon
this sent out for, this martyrdom
struck, holding fast --the dead

hold fast to everything.
Only water. They want only water.
And gathering.

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The New Yorker and elsewhere. For more information, including his essay “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” and a complete bibliography, please visit his website at

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