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March 15, 2019 / barton smock

{ prog / able }

Ohio deaths

~

(i)

every stick I throw

a ghost
of my grandfather’s
wand—

I don’t throw many
it is not a sight
to see

not some cow nudging awake the weakest deer

not pipe tobacco, not smoke, not that spider
from an injured
fog

not a small child
a dog even

trying to use
a spoon

~

(ii)

god’s been gone nine months and all this talk he’s done of being stabbed in a dollhouse struggles to fill a baby

(do animals have songs

do they know

to miss
missing (leave the bragging

to grief

~

(iii)

handstands and loneliness- what infantile reactions we have to existence. I want to eat

but how will they know there was nothing here (this finger

once a rib in the back of your throat

~

(iv)

my son knows his birds by the hands he draws for them. anatomy is perhaps what you make it. grey bruise, blue tongue…

this dream goes nowhere. hell, these chickens

(as if their god was struck by a ghost

~

(v)

this body was never a child

(& birth a spoon
bent to the little

I long

~

(vi)

father cuts my hair as something gentle he can do underwater. he’s broken the bowl that caught his mother’s mouth. we have our mirrors and you your nets. I am the last of his one-eared boys.

~

(vii)

his cigarette going bald, father prepares his food while we touch ours. god swims long enough to miss wind. if there are two babies in the same room, they switch cribs but not teeth. god is a time-traveler selling nostalgia. I can never remember which of mother’s ears is insect and which is litmus. it’s always the second meal

comes from heaven

~

(viii)

I want to be loved so badly that I promise your raccoon the sea. dying means:

my boy falls asleep drinking from a toy boat. god has no friends but even better

my mother has one was born

without a birthday. can an angel

do this? says ghost.

(grief is a thing taught to breathe by its stomach

~

(ix)

it’s dark and all of us are in the wrong stone.

the floor is clean where I learned my shapes.

~

(x)

I cut the pills
sometimes
in advance. (love

that no matter
the day, there are three

god spent
with his son

~

(xi)

(between

online
searches
for tire
swing (mother

sells chalk
to a ghost

~

(xii)

I didn’t miss god or think I was ugly. had mud enough
to make
from memory

the scarecrow’s
stomach. I ate my brothers

they ate
me back. any loss

became a hole
in a snake, any needle

a worshiped
feather…

~

(xiii)

think of wind as a thing that’s mastered its nothingness.

cradle
the unfinished.

yes think, then cradle.

hands shape their own leaving.

~

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