Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 17
Fall 2017

[Four Poems]

by Simon Perchik

[Again and again you begin each night]

Again and again you begin each night
as if this faucet climbs only in the dark
will widen its slow turn

to reach the sink with clouds then settle
as seawater, wait for rain to strike
shatter and along the same path

return  as lightning from a fever
that’s not a flower, still trembling
the way her breasts curved

are collecting dew—your hands
are never wet enough
and around your chest the scent

splashes over the great weight
you’re breathing in 
—what keeps you in the air

is the full light from stars
kept cold under running water
draining their smoke for the surface

stretching out, lifting the Earth
closer and closer as if once
you had something in half to put back.


[Even without a caress its petals]

Even without a caress its petals
wait, try more red than usual
then sweets, sent along with the scent

from the latest hillside till one grave
blossoms before the others
and you are at last alone

beside a single afternoon, holding on
though your shadow is already airborne
rising out the Earth as moonlight

still warm on your lips, impatient
the way a headstone is no longer carried
once it turns full length to embrace

lift your arms around it, pressing them
against its breasts, its lifeless throat
for whispers, for kisses and bitter air.


[For a few hours every night the floor]

For a few hours every night the floor
slows and the room cuts back
quieted, begins its descent

the way a dead lake is filled
with shoreline—the rug
is used to boards that stay wet

though it’s an iron bed
breaking in half where a pillow
once filled with seabirds

still clings to the other side
before it opens—it takes time
but the floor has to be washed

every night just to hear the dress
touching down, folding over the mop
the rotting wooden handle.


[You sleep with the coat buttoned]

You sleep with the coat buttoned
and though your eyes are closing
the sleeves cling by listening

sure her favorite dress
is somewhere in this room
no longer morning, named

as if these walls once were stone
and what you hear
is losing speed, altitude—the bed

knows all about how an underground cave
stays open, kept trapped to survive
as a whisper not a whisper anymore.


SHJ Issue 17
Fall 2017

Simon Perchik

is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. Now in his nineties, he continues to write and publish, and his most recent collection is The Osiris Poems (box of chalk, 2017). For more information, including free e-books and his essay entitled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities,” please visit his website:

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury