You feed these birds at night

the way every feather they use

comes from a quarry where the air


darkens with each landing –it’s Tuesday

and you still have not forgotten

their return for seeds, endlessly


weeping for a missing child

a brother, mother though their eyes

are unsure how to close


when listening for a name, a flower

a river –you fill your hand from a bag

as if at the bottom they could hear


an emptiness that is not a night

falling behind step by step on the ground

–how open it was, already grass.


And stubborn yet these wicks

warm the light they need

to blossom  as stone


then cling, smell from hair

burning inside, clawing for roots

heated by butterflies


and the afternoons coming together

to the light the fire, be a noon

where there was none before.



You stir this soup as if each finger

is warmed by the breeze

though your eyes close when salt is added


–small stones could bring it to life

overflow with branches , berries, wings

shimmering and far away dissolve


into a sea that has no word

for sitting at a table, naked

waiting for you to turn on the light


wrap your arms around a bowl

that’s empty, a night no longer sure

it’s the rim you’re holding on to


that’s circling a man eating alone

who can’t see, hears only the waves

becoming lips, colder and colder.



This thin sheet has no strength left

spread out as a bed

no longer interested in love


though the edge still folds in

taking hold a frayed promise

pulling it to safety word by word


–look around, what was saved is paper

shrinking into curls and hollows

has a face, a mouth –all in writing


has the silence, the forever

death listens for –what it hears

is the unfolding face up


the way moonlight

has never forgotten your fingers

are constantly unpacking paper


as the frail sound oars make

when bringing back a sea

that was not cared for :this note


all this time forgotten, in a box

half wood, half smoke

as if it once lit up the world.



And though this bottle is empty

it drifts on by as if the grass

puts its trust in the thirst


for sunlight and butterflies

–drop by drop you water this grave

till it smells from salt


then sent off, comes back

night after night as a wave

telling you where, what happened.


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 Osiris Poems published by box of chalk, 2017. For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.