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November 21, 2018 / barton smock

{ older test (s) }


we peck
in the darkroom
at the wrist
of a fish
our body language
the baby’s



like some use an alias. fingerprints

for hand.

I was dreaming I guess
in the face of brevity

of god’s glassrabbit ocean


at a time
unlike this

the father
is all

the chicken, gone
he points

to its ghost…

my mouth
is a church, my clock
a Sunday spider

in a dry

(I’m passionate about my grief)

your shadow

dolled up
in the yard

cyborg, minotaur

not once
did I watch
them sleep


I don’t know what she saw
in that jar

but she’s been hours

my head
with a balloon…

dad switches out the bag on her head
and slips something in my mouth
while saying
in the dollhouse

I doze for a moment and see a priest
pretend to fall
from a horse, and a stork

as it should

I see myself
a form
by a twin, a reincarnation

that perhaps impressed
my photographer


minus the pills
by shepherd


the cause of this grief escapes me and I worry can tunnel breathe. the snake in your love letter sounds real. it takes my belly to things

that are also


dream is a boy dressed as his abuser sizing aquariums for the hand of a spider


the first person to use these steps went down these steps. violence is the new past. I see a dove and think god will never know who it was ate his crushed light bulb. I betray my ear. the seashell of the stomach.


I try, but can’t make my bed. mom says maybe I’m grief. after coming back to touch me, she wishes herself a bird.

I hope she eats.


I had a word for marble that wasn’t marble. both were swallowed.

thirst is not the same as forgetting to drink. god talks up his handicapped friend.


will I never

arachnid, a triangle

by others-

my legs make me lonely.

dream, put me down.


upon my double
being seen
I am set
to self

I am no sadder
than twin, no sadder
than dog…

my wrist
is nothing’s


no knife in the dog of absence. not a scratch on wind’s throat. winged things that belong to the tooth in your shoulder. lipstick. the unhummed ribs of your wrist.


night is the sound of my father’s adding machine. of mother narrating the life of a stone. lake is my brother’s action figure learning to swim on a full stomach. lake is a bird going from dream to dream as a mouse. hole is anything I bring home that isn’t my body. home from the city where sisters drink in silence to footnotes of future fictions.


life is a shapelessness to which form describes its pilgrimage

dream a grave dreaming
of a cactus
for nothing’s


shape is a future fashioned from god’s inability to reflect

(she thinks her hair came from an egg. she is not alone.)

there’s nothing in the food


and there I was, sad

my robot
giving hell
to an elevator

and I was forty-one
and still not there
the day that kid
got beat up
for keeping sadness

and I was never the poorest
in any room

is this what being poor means or meant

that we can brush at the fossil
of grief


suicide took the person she was named during.

I am old, here. a klutz abstaining from revelation.

bald as any
of maps.


had he not been all those years
writing a review
for the last book
in the world
my father
would’ve been
a poet

there are only so many crows
one can see
outside a laundromat
for the drowned, scarless hawks

so maternally nudged
into the travelogue
of my staying


angel of the old well
speaks to god
in rabbit, I wish

your films
were longer


I don’t know the name of the animal that slept with god. that ate the pea and left a rib. that moved the angel’s grave. with help.

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