by Simon Perchik

Just our initials, carved
as a heart is warmed by bark
by one clean sweep as the sun all day
erasing its light, each day brighter

—let the landlord yell.  Say
you don’t know or why
or some mistake.  There’s insurance
for these errors.  And omissions.  Say
you saw lightning, your door
always rattled, no one comes for leaves
and the lock was filled with birds, say
feel the key.  Worn down, bleeding.

My wrist still aches.
Holding a rag and this knife
I struck your door to find you, kiss you
—the blade was exhausted.

I had to carry it down the steps
as some giant redwood
falling, falling, say to your landlord

the door was calling out for water
that even its heart stopped hiding, say
you will keep the faucet open
will water this heart
till each letter fills with lakes, in time
even the birds won’t notice, say
in time, in time, say centuries.

Say this heart was left
as at Christmas time a gift
under the branches—the tree
is honored, the door ripens
opens its sweet oranges, sweet lips
sweet arms and legs, a home, say
sweeter than toes and fingers.


Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in
Partisan Review, The New Yorker, the Apple Valley Review,
and elsewhere.  For more information, including his essay “Magic,
Illusion and Other Realities” and a complete bibliography, please
visit Perchik’s website at

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 5, Number 1
(Spring 2010)

Copyright © 2010
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.