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July 6, 2020 / barton smock

traced perhaps for a terrible circle, today was mostly your hand. (edits, deletions, 2017 and life under bell)

traced perhaps for a terrible circle, today was mostly your hand.

on video my cousin is singing a song she’s learned by heart. she’s maybe four. I don’t know where to begin. this pond behind her, perhaps? that in my memory is the size of a fire pit. or maybe, here, in the darkening sameness of those sentences strung together by cows. or years from now, even, with the word no and her sister’s lookalike being assaulted by an only child in a library of fragile non-fiction. my cousin is singing a song she’s learned by heart. she’s five. a careful six. sound’s fossil. no city half-imagined. no insect obsessed with privacy. time matters to the frog we catch.

~

there are days he is the son of muscle memory and funny bone. days his hands are gloves from a small god. poor god, he says, and grows. days he can carry a circle to any clock in the town of hours. days his past can be heard by his siblings- you’re beautiful the way you are. days his blood pushes a bread crumb through his thigh. days his scar is a raft for ear number three. nights his brain / the separation of church and church.

~

violence is a dreamer. a boy on a stopped bus is dared to eat a worm. it feels authentic. alas, there is no worm. the devil knows to stay pregnant. word spreads about the girl without a tongue. cricket lover. and then, bulimic, when she won’t sneeze.

~

the mother of your hand is smashing spiders with her wrist. we have a high-chair for every creature that eats its own hair. the twins in the attic have switched diapers. skeptics. voices heard by the ghost of my stomach.

~

it is snowing the first time my daughter drives alone. Ohio is cruel. stillbirth, old four-eyes. you want them to like you. the insects you save.

~

a lawnmower starts then dies then is pushed by a noisemaker past fog’s dark church. an unprepared prophet drinks the milk meant for baby eyesore. my sister loses most of her hair putting together a puzzle of her mouth. a bomb is dropped on a bomb.

~

we put a museum on the moon. I had all my dreams at once. a mouse was wrapped in a washcloth then crushed with the songbook of baby hairless. fire treats grass like fire.

~

and in the spacecraft where a mother diapers the doll that makes her fat there plays the voice of god asking for a film crew none will miss

~

we wore clothes as an apology for being nearby. a door was a door. a ghost was a ghost and a door. the house was possible. its rooms were not. baby was a body spat from the mouth of any creature dreaming of a bathtub. I got this lifejacket from a scarecrow. said the redheaded tooth fairy.

~

his baby is wailing in its crib for its mother and he mans you up for a cigarette and blows on the baby’s face and somewhere you yourself have stopped crying as you are pulled from a pile of leaves by two people made of smoke

~

sickness in the young is god’s way of preventing nostalgia from becoming the god I remember

~

I was beautiful but now I’m ugly. (now) being the most recognizable symbol of the present. this is the silence I speak of. my son says (more ball) and you hear (moon bone). he is very sick. his moon has bones.

~

we don’t come out faking our death, but are born because birth can’t sleep

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