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May 23, 2019 / barton smock

{ misc. }

every bird I take from the ocean becomes a handful of snow

& somewhere the small machine that your father fixed

is on its only leg


I listen with my brother for frostbitten thunder

(as sleep makes oven the birthmark of the home

(as god spots crow at the grave of a rooster





while jumping
on those
not postponed
by thunder


eating for the child lost by ghost, you are the second of three people who know god’s middle name. oh how I’ve written to avoid reading. to impress death.

a babysitter’s tattoo. the bird-sleep of ache.


in their hermit’s longhand they write of sobriety the unreadable grief and then subconsciously outbid god on the hamster wheel from grasshopper’s dream


years from the event of my body, we pass in the grocery. I tell your children they are attached to nothing, that my arm cast is made of fingernails, that a bruise has a shadow, and that a mouth is where a mouth goes to die. truth has no attention span. it is not my favorite dream. partly this is so because I can remember how with a grey marker I drew on my belly the easier fruits might the identified heal the recognized. (but the kids are ugly and seem to know


one thing leads to another and they call this the past. I don’t sleep because I don’t love god. son I am a barber in the body of a dentist. son loneliness is just a museum of recent prayer. there are crows I haven’t seen.

that other crows have.


we were allowed to keep any item we could draw perfectly. mothers counted cigarettes and fathers died in threes. no one had a sister but all

her hidden talent. on the hand of god, the scissors I lost…


a genetic forgetfulness
in jumpers
of rope

all the turtles
have been touched


ache as a hairstyle. teeth that pray for frostbitten squirrels. a shadow, a circle, their secret



with my body as a thing that existed from the waist-up, I became to swimming what I’d been to lightning and told my brothers that to dream they had to fall asleep before god touched his food. loneliness left its skinny tree and followed my mother into an outhouse where once her sister had counted smoke-rings and where twice they’d sung for their mouths the one about zero the forgotten letter. my father looked at me and I at my son. time waiting to create the sick.

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