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March 3, 2021 / barton smock

nostalgia, brutally

a trapdoor meant for a circle, a body

from a puzzled
lake, god

falling ill
in a dream, back

to back

for skin

March 2, 2021 / barton smock

somewhere even younger an imagined thunder the size of a seasick dog has crushed again the baby for crushing pills

To heal her brother, she asks me to brush her hair. She jokes that when I’m done she’ll not only show me the scab but also remove it so I can see where her batteries went. I tell her the fish are biting and that my father is wanted. Touch leaves me alone and it must look often as if I am trying to get a pair of scissors to eat snow. For every angel sick of heaven, there’s a shadow passed out in a dream.

February 26, 2021 / barton smock


A skull has nothing to do with a seashell and a dryer is not an oven. My brothers don’t remember being taken by aliens, but still believe that god is serious about studying who misses us. My dad has a single idea much like a pregnancy test has none. I dream in twos. The unraised wolf, the worshiped stork. I want a better world, or to get food poisoning from hunger. I hope my son has one friend as harmless as an ear.

February 25, 2021 / barton smock

bones from an extra moon

father making book covers in the nude

his longhand moving in the veins of a giant

his name an ant sleeping in the center of a band-aid

what if the end stops coming

a crow is not a star

the eyes know nothing
but know it first

loss is the salt of now

February 24, 2021 / barton smock

location notes

I miss the radio being off
even when
it’s off.

Forty baseballs going dark.

I lost someone
and lost their death.

February 24, 2021 / barton smock

location notes

Loss changes its name to loss and then back to loss. Time runs out of death. As a kid I wanted there to be a fish that was alive because it was the only fish. The gone, to themselves, will always be the last to have left. I don’t sleep and you don’t sleep and together our not sleeping is a blessing that disguises scarcity. But god has nothing and keeps even less.

February 23, 2021 / barton smock

location notes

In one stopped car, a baby with a staring problem is on hour number three. In another, my sister takes photos of her dog. I leave my own car to find the icicle that will become the mirror’s rifle, but I know I’m to be killed by the wind for a thing as big and as little as rattling a scarecrow’s keys under any table that ain’t been set. No story needs told yet here we are outing angels to a god best remembered for how it covered the noisemaker’s brevity. Does shape forget its poverty, or poverty its shape? I ask you on a train about the wheel you’re asleep at. If the food came early, we’d call it starved. Dying is a chew toy. Be as unmoved as your attackers.

February 22, 2021 / barton smock

location notes

As quiet as a doll’s neck
a bell
for the wrong

I watch it again and again
your goldfish
a bowl
that’s frightened
of sleep

No animals were created in the making of this harm

February 22, 2021 / barton smock

location notes

Do as nothingness has done

and cover
that scar
with god

There is a room

that knows
where you die

February 22, 2021 / barton smock

some older &



a circus worker
as one
who dreams
of being brainwashed
in Eden

the details
need some space

every bee sting
has a ghost



A little
off the ears
my crucified

The more I sleep, the more there is
of the future.



at the longest party thrown for god, does water

dream it’s found

the spot
where ghost
went in



rocks have the softest shadows
Barton Smock

237 pages
Dec 2020



pages 1 through 41, DIETS OF THE RESURRECTED
pages 43 through 80, from AN OLD IDEA ONE HAD OF STARS
pages 81 through 167, from ANIMAL MASKS ON THE FLOOR OF THE OCEAN
pages 169 through 208, from MOTHERLINGS
pages 209 through 212, AFTERNOTES
pages 213 through 235, New Poems


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