These gravestones are shaped the way every avalanche

wants to enter the Earth –first as a single doorstep

then the rush though the rocks you listen for


are already moons helping you find the door

for holding on while the light under you

becomes another shadow made from wood


lays down as a room that cannot change its mind

is filled with cracked lips, the cold and end over end

the strong corners, the kisses that made it here.



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 wait at a fence though the yard

no longer moves –all this air

and not one mouthful for these dead


left in the open where each leaf

is handed over as the loss

that was the one too many


and from the same gate, half wood

half kept open as those slow climbing turns

that never make it back, forget how


to fall from moonlight, make room

for more wood and these dead

feeling their way down hand over hand.



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 boxofchalk, 2017. For more information including free e-books and his essay “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit