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July 9, 2020 / barton smock

2019 then

wrote the below to no one last year on July 9th.

my grandmother passed away shortly after, and my grandfather shortly after that:


I don’t believe, or I do, or I have questions. it doesn’t matter. I guess it doesn’t matter. regardless, grief shows a boy how to position the hands to play with nothing. stances become a skillset. what I want to say is that my grandmother is having a surgery tomorrow that no matter how it goes is going to change a course or two. I saw her today and even in her frail state she asked about my children and made a soft meaningful joke about the grey in my beard. I hope she’s okay forever.


these two poems came on that same day:

[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


so, anyway, I hope we are able to put things back together and return déjà vu its aftermath

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