To remind you how long before white
becomes invisible –you fold this dish cloth
over and over as if each splash

is wiped with a cry making room
the way an old love song turns the world
still from inside, lowers it into this sink

though you reach down for the arm
that was everything –it’s a ritual
where after every meal you become a hermit

heard only as the voice that’s missing
was waiting under the faucet
while you blow each word out

could hear its light weaken, disappear
though you sit in a small room
with a hole in it, stripping a cup naked

pressing it closer, louder and louder
already gone which means a sea
boiling your hands in its ashes.


Simon Perchik’s poetry has appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, The New Yorker and elsewhere. www.simonperchik.com