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January 10, 2019 / barton smock

{ re: motive }

{WE BROUGHT HOME THE WRONG DYING BABY}

I ain’t been talked to in so long my wife’s kid thinks I have amnesia. ain’t been touched since Ohio’s ramshackle symbolism swallowed up some organ donor’s shadow. I went yesterday to a funeral for a woman’s ear. told people what I was wearing was a bedsheet belonged to the man in the moon. told myself I had this microscope could see a ghost and that I’ve only ever lost an empty house. I don’t know how old I am but I know what year I want it to be. before dying I saw it flash how I should have died. low creature. tugboat.

~~~

father an optometrist inspecting a replica of a totem pole and mother an eel collapsing at the thought of a play performed in a stone.

and there, at the bottom of grief, a cup of dirt with nothing to bury.

~~~

mother is chewing gum like something fell asleep in my mouth. I say dog for both dog and puppy. pray for things I know will happen. a rooster through a windshield. a dried-up toad in a deep footprint.

~~~

mother and father give their word that all narrators are orphans. that blood is a short leash. sometimes, a fence. be, they say, the symbol your god remembers you by. tell your brother to act like a chicken. your stickmen to share a toothache.

~~~

I saw a cigarette with its mouth open. today was hard. hate is amazing.

god will die with his ear on my stomach.

~~~

the darkness has many stomachs and we’ve no one to tell my son he’s lonely.

seller of the disappearing stone, the mouth names everything and is born after eating a blindfold.

~~~

for desperation, boy puts a bird in a hand puppet. here a finger and there a worm, sadness has no family. oh fetus my moth of many colors. oh mosquito that bit an angel. time with my son

in scenario’s territory.

~~~

atavism

(god is someone’s calendar

valley

(a girl with a marble who answers to overdose

pulpit

(rooster ghosted by elevator

subculture

(in my years with the poor, I wrote nothing down

alpenglow

(the scalp will baby its grief

~~~

on muscle detail, the clapping boy from the cult of thunder brings a wheelchair to the last rocking horse known to model swimwear for the few dolls that remain married to the same mask. the boy is weak but maybe he puts two words together. like ghost

and exodus. for the second coming of the handcuffed animal.

~~~

the boy picking flowers for my shadow loves no one. everything I touch remembers being my hand. the world has ended, or started early. god’s heartbeat. sound’s watermark.

~~~

because her son can see the future, she is not yet born. god matters to the discovered.

~~~

overtook no cigarette. surprised no sleep. keyed the car

of a minor
toymaker.

radar is getting possessive.

~~~

for the gone and for the nearly, brother has the same stick.

I call belly
what he calls
eye
what answers
to limb

~~~

to speak
it needs gum
from the invisible
purse.

comes with everything. cries like me.

~~~

she says
three times
the word
brain
to her stomach’s
blue
mirror
and scores
sight’s wardrobe
of rags
in earworm’s
dream

~~~

there’s a comb
in my narrative, a goldfish

coming to
in a beheaded
angel

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