Three Poems by Simon Perchik

You lower your voice and dig

till it comes up empty

stays in place though you

are the only one who talks


as the sound dirt makes

when taken away night after night


to fill the hole in this bed

–from such a darkness

you carry up the Earth

to look for the sun

where an afternoon should be

and there you wait


gently pushed along

by some hillside on tip-toe

quietly leaving your mouth.


You lean into this tree as if its roots

struck something made from wood

no longer moves, became an island


with mountains laid out in rows

and though they have no arms

they open them when someone


is left close by –under such a weight

their hands break apart the Earth

from feeling their way around it


grave after grave, blinded by moonlight

as the chunks you never saved

form this nearly empty night


with nothing but the bright green hole

this dying tree drains, keeps dry

between what you wanted and the shine.


From inches away his finger can’t miss

–the other kid plays dead, falls arm over arm

the way all games come with a well


are filled with wishes hardened into stones

sure the Earth would go along

though there’s no splash –what you hear


is the thud that purifies each death

as one aimless night followed by another

overflowing and this park


becomes the sudden laughter

you no longer get to be

are waiting for this dry wooden bench


to open, let you in, hear the stream

stones hear when young, not yet

sent to the bottom even in the afternoon.


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

The Witness by Natalie Crick

 My presence

Fell upon them

Like the first snow of Winter.

A perfect regret.


They will slit each other open

Just to find me.

Tasting the sweet heat

Of blood.


They found me in the room of

Freshly dead.

All still warm and pale,

The breaths of the others were


Fluttering in a cage,

Witness to the wreckage.

The whisper of

Blossoms falling into darkness,


Purple as witchcraft,


I fear your murmurings in daylight hours,

A thundercloud blackening the valley.


I am still

An open wound.

You need only to look.

Just look.


Natalie Crick, from the UK, has poetry published or is forthcoming in a range of journals and magazines including Interpreters House, The Chiron Review, Rust and Moth, Ink in Thirds and The Penwood Review. Her work also features or is forthcoming in a number of anthologies, including Lehigh Valley Vanguard Collections 13. This year her poem, ‘Sunday School’ was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.