Simon Perchik


How far will our shadows stay empty
before the strongest stars give up
—this paving too, a weightless mask. Pull.

We will load the Earth, fill this street
with more dark, give our gangling shadows
a burden, tame them to carry away
our deepest selves, and at night

have them fly, blacken the sky
—messengers pulled from our fists
to imitate our gait, our closed eyes
our skin coming loose.

We don’t have to look anymore
We hear them stir. In their separate places
our shadows flicker
with only starlight to bend over us

bend this street into the heap
the rising seam: our wobbling fists
burnt out, left to hover
striking nothing down—we will load the Earth

with holes, with shadows cracked open: throats
rolling in the silence, the thin light.
A dry fire is shining. We don’t have to watch.
When this street burns, theirs is lighted.


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 B Poems published by Poets Wear Prada, 2016. For more information, including free e-books, and his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities,” please visit his website at