Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Poetry Series

Simon Perchik
East Hampton, NY, USA


Rothko Squared by Brett Jordan

Without an address your hands
lean across –another crease
making the final correction

though this note still opens out
windblown, fingerprints
everywhere on her lips

on her breasts, on the bed sheet
folded and over, warmed
for its nakedness and side by side

–every word is already lost
and there at the bottom
where little blossoms should grow

there’s nothing but silence
and the long line for a stamp
to cling when it leaves your hands

as if even without the flowers
the corners will arrive as evenings
covered with dirt and her forehead.


What you open leans against wood
that is not a door you can muffle
put your arm around the only sound

when you knock on this kitchen table
whose corners were broken off
straight down, still lit, letting you in

circle her mouth not yet the room
left over and listen for the smoke
around the hush from small fires.


Just died and its rain
is already snow, comforts
the obituary page

with moonlight pieces
slowly circling down
as that star-shaped lullaby

small stones still look for
–it’s this morning’s
though over your head the deaths

are hidden in silence
begging for water
that doesn’t break apart

the way each sky
is hollowed out for another
–you make a sea

for these dead, each name
a boat, sails, the spray
midair and out loud.


This tree abandoned at last
flows past as ravines and riverbeds
and can’t fall any more

–it’s used to dirt and those initials
you carried along inch by inch
not in some stone letting you stop

for water –you were buried
in the afternoon, late so the light
could close the lid with leftover kisses

become an ocean, still burning
and between each wave the glint
from a clear silence you took for yes.


To survive you disguise each log
as the aromatic sun the mornings
can’t resist –even when naked

you hide some kindling close by
let it give birth in the smoke
that leaves with nothing, becomes

the emptiness though your eyes
never look up or warm –a fire
is feeling its way to your mouth

with lullabies and the small stone
falling asleep on the stove
–you feed it wood as if your lips

still smell from milk and salt
–an ancient, gentle art now lost
somewhere in those nightmares

set off by an empty dress
and along your forehead the light
begins to melt, wants to stay, keep going.



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, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.


Spring 2017  |  Sections  |  Poetry

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