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February 8, 2019 / barton smock

~ some recent. some not ~

[a delicacy, here, this harm]

mother my eyes
my longest

mother my bones

I owl
your voice
above my son
how much hair

can christ
swallow, is it human

to want
for the uni

a more



[treaty, grief, moon]

no clock
we live
in the house
beside the house
we bought

treaty, grief, moon

some far

some nakedness


[dream saw and dream tooth]

to be
as asleep
as a father’s
left leg

as a birthday
for a window


[this new way to be lonely]

you recall


[estimations. longings.]

to adopt
the paperwork


[childlike boredom]

never be more creative than your abuser.

I’ll bring christ, you




if told by your hands to set myself on fire, I would pray my father into a snake and death would cry in a whale for every bee that lost its voice.



poverty has its own alphabet. we speak only to expand our understanding of what came second, be it silence or the ventriloquy of god. no one here has lost a baby but there are enough of us to go around. I’ve nowhere to tell you about place.


[god’s blue puppy]

mother & father if you want to help there are two images left

memory has all the time in the world. three babies are carried from church for crying, or one baby for crying thrice. I orbit the idea of an animal not thinking of itself. my transparent sister wants to be a surgeon. if you remember, brother made for the groom a bible so light it could be held by a cobweb. and then it was.

you will have to trust that my parents entered the world after a long absence and that they brought with them no appetite large enough to entertain a child whose sole skill was to avoid being eaten.

I am watching my younger brother roll his ankle wearing high heels. a boy with a stick is a boy with a wand. kids die in their sleep because they are boring. because they dream of things that can really happen.

I smoke a joint in a barn and worry I will see a barn owl that will crush my barn owl dreams.

I wake up behind the wheel of a car just in time to kiss the driver’s neck and the driver makes a fish face so horribly that a child giggles in hell and there is no place where nothing should be

a woman with a spotted neck asks me for a drag as if I’m hoarding flashbacks. is my son still sick? would amnesia know it’s outnumbered? in country, I knelt openly. the daughter of a spineless mother was delivered without incident but in high school began to smell like gunpowder. an ant carried an ant from the shadow of a mushroom like luggage.

touch your father
see if your mother
comes back

death is never early. take the first bite of every meal in front of a mirror. rename fish for the winners of midwestern game shows. chase the kid while pulling a plastic bag over your head. invent a sibling schoolmates blind. know poverty, know moon. shampoo the elderly from a distance. baby no one. they have looked like hell since before you were born.

the doll’s feet stick out from under a hotel bed marooned in the ceiling’s mirror. across town, a silent alarm is pressed by the anonymous smoker of wedding cigarettes.

siblings form a circle around a one trick pony. some believe the jack-in-the-box is broken while others believe it’s patient.

fuck that first kick in the oblivious virgin and those mating rituals observed by the responsibly poor…

object permanence is a rabbit named vertigo

online I find instructions on how to make my own scarecrow. I wake my sister and have her put on her pajamas while I take the overcoat my father is using for a blanket. when we’re an error of a mile away from everything, when we are not siblings skin-to-skin in an unmarked life, I have to push the ATV with my sister on it. she is crying about flooding and I’m telling her what the scarecrow will look like. she wants it to have a cape. because my son isn’t born yet, there’s not much to like.

no, not a dog digs in the dollyard of my adult sleep. but there are nights when the bones of my most afflicted boy are the bumps that stir his siblings to spoon each other and in the morning I tell them how their grandfather, propelled by the moth in his mind, walked three times into our door to rid his head of his god, of his wife, and of the secret knock they shared.

after his suicide he writes he’ll be back with a note so perfect

holding a baby as if she’s had it thrown at her, my mother steps out of a museum. it has stopped raining. it has also stopped snowing. in god’s blue puppy.

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