painting, “Seminole,” by Jean Wolff


by Simon Perchik



Another stomp though it’s sunlight

dissolving into dirt the way all noise

wears out, limps and at your side


two radios, one covered with mud

the other bit by bit chips through

the small stones inside each ear


and in-between, who’s alive? who’s dead?

–who listens for that static

still on fire as this shovel


not yet exhausted, entangled

with weeds that can’t take it anymore

break apart and the unbearable heat


from blossoms the sun empties into

as rain and more rain

till you splash in the sound


not yet your shadow

though one foot blackens first

dragging you under and inches apart.



Pulling this bowl to your lips

as if traction was needed

though it must know by now


why you dig with the same whisper

that once beat back the wind

and the sky changing direction


–you lift with what became

the moon, still crawling in its cage

one end to the other, that no longer


struts in the open, is terrified by air

wants to cool and in your throat

crumbles from exhaustion and splashing


–you make a spray so this spoon

will empty in your arms overflowing

as grass and so many fingers.




The door knows why it opens

and still you’re not used to it

could be a sound from the 40s


gutting this radio

the way all skies darken

fill with distances


–you listen for the slow turn

the Earth never forgot

though a hidden crack


keeps the room from exploding

and costs you nothing

has already started its climb


spreads out –with both arms

you begin to crawl

and not yet an old love song.




You begin to sweat, for hours

the way these stars poke through

and everything has come true


–it’s a knack you learn

quickly, pulling up small stones

–that’s it! afterwards


you bring back those same days

as evenings that no longer

say anything, the darkness


is enough, lets your fingertips

pin down the Earth, hold it

drain it –afterwards


you put back its night

as once and never again

though your shadow too


falls  from a sky swept away

for rain and your hand

wider than usual, gone.



Look around you, yes

it will pass by the way darkness

comes from the ground


wanders alongside you

with nothing to stop it

crawling over your grave


as if it needs these flowers

gathered from the center

the Earth no longer turns


and before that nothing

–this hillside already has

your cheeks, is still expanding


needs more dirt, more sky

and your shoulders waving

in all directions at once


making room –reach around

and all this emptiness

all from a single goodbye.


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 Almost Rain,published by River Otter Press (2013). For more information, including free e-books, please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Jean Wolff studied fine arts at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit and at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, receiving a BFA in studio arts. She then attended Hunter College, CUNY in New York, graduating with an MFA in painting and printmaking. She’s since had group and solo exhibits in various galleries in New York City and internationally and is part of the artistic community of Westbeth in Manhattan. For complete exhibition list and bibliography please visit artist website at www.jeanwolff.com.