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January 17, 2019 / barton smock

{ cap }



the elderly
our unpraised
with healed
and self-taught


cancer is a pop gun and when I say missing I mean her body was seen by the lonely / her body / was having children but only those / we’d seen / in photos / I mean bus

of a christian
swim team


when cooking, mama says she is burning the uniform of the country I was dragged through. she knows better than to come from rib. cheek, maybe. or fishhook.


scar to my wound, this man believes in god. the last thing I learn is what I know. Franz Wright’s final book is called The Toy Throne. I understand this man when he says he was born with a disabled child. what is lightning

to a fish


faith a shoelace in an unbroken egg

I stare at the letter x


the plate

in god’s head
is a writer’s
dream. she crows

her three
for stoplight
as a doll

bites down
on a stick…

math is maybe not the best look for grief

and hunger

too academic


after suicide, everything that happens is the past


I am not a ghost,

I use
the least


the mothers they were rehearsing in the drive-thru
the sex talk for boys they thought
were still

crush a white tick / you’ll become / a projectionist

sleep is a bleeding stopped by the eye


with god
to remove
its white
stomach, the dream

sees brain
as the print
of its thumbless


/ to a breathing machine in a swimming pool

the angel says whale

/ my nightmare

has a whale. it takes grief

from a mule

/ my brothers are porn

and star. claustrophobes

the hard
to forgive


alone in that no-name church of dream

scales of grief
and thrown back


with his mother’s purse under his arm
the gatherer
of knocked-out

to the entrance
of a waterpark
the so-called

deer to imagine
a rock




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