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August 20, 2019 / barton smock

{ aches (to,ward) }

[drift ache]

gives guilt
an afterlife

the neighbors
found dead, we learn

to miss

the dog afraid of everything

(sleep is a movie a mom was in


[brink ache]

we died
in that dream
but continued
to understand.

I thought
with my children
would cure
your fear
of flossing. every bomb

touches god.

I forgot
to be in pain.


[correct ache]

an angel leaves heaven to touch paper as a circle from my childhood rolls toward an empty jack-in-the-box. I am old enough to be sad and too old to separate deer facts from church facts. my children fall asleep before their hands fall asleep.


[clean ache]

punched in our stomachs for remembering the sea, we are in a church that goes to church. it is here that a drop of god’s blood can change paper into plastic and here that bread is the bread and butter of hunger and hunger the oldest child in nothing’s choir. here that I count for a son who cannot count. for a son who sleeps on land on the lamb of his illness. (water is still the smallest toy and our mouths still come

from the same


[salt ache]

perhaps I am the thing that overtook me. that in its becoming was able to feel guilty about doing so. what if death is just looking for the one it’s named after. lonely I can almost see my eyes.


[rabbit ache]

I can’t sit
for very long
without wanting
to smoke.

this is the flower
I pick
for my ghost.


[realm ache]

I stand in a ruined field and preach longevity to a god that stares through me at the empty highchair of some freckled thing. my age is with me, there, and there to mean how far can I throw my food. if I close my eyes, I can see touch as a mirror that’s been used by my mother to describe sleep.


[beginning ache]

the crow’s fear of inclusion. eve’s perfectly forgotten ribs. the nothing I mean to my dentist. the cemetery where all the un-boyed went to eat paper. the band-aid in the belly of a baptized child. yawn of kites.


[years ache]

my children haven’t gone a day without their stomachs. sometimes I lift my shirt and I think they mind. I want to tell them but won’t about the party we can’t throw for a dog whistle. fish are still building the sea.


[elder ache]

show me
the fireflies
of yours
that get
around human

(there is
a table

will set

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