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March 11, 2021 / barton smock

2014,2015,2017, all touched and erased

~~~~~

OCCASION I

I am on the train that will take me to my brother and he is on the train that will bring him to me. He has only just seen the great bird I’ve envisioned since birth. I make myself in his image and use his inside voice to describe the bird. My train arrives early. Once off, I put a cigarette in my mouth without lighting it. I pace. A woman asks me if I have a light and I say sharply no. I apologize to the woman and explain how nervous I am to meet my brother this way. She says she understands. She says she’ll probably see god before she sees her sister. I offer her my cigarette and she takes it with her. My bird is getting smaller and I don’t know who to blame.

~~~~~

OCCASION II

To rename fish from the lobby window of a submerged hotel. To let the water from a mother’s body but not before telling her that god lives in me so long as my son is outside. To have nothing but the mewing compositions of rooftop strays to keep me from becoming the devil your pen pal was fed to. To die listening for the never arriving marble of grief and to drown while pulling imagery from those years spent on land openly preparing the eaten, subliminal beast.

~~~~~

ANNIHILATIVES

I.

as drawn, the boy’s
alien and cow
evoke rescue

dream: a toothless sheepdog is spooning roadkill in a wax museum dedicated to famine

go on, birth
take silence
from a baby

II.

dream: a contortionist on a stretcher

bulimics
at a tortoise
crossing

III.

you drive a clown car into a crowd
it is how you mourn
the accidental burning
of a doll’s
body-sock
and this I understand
as a city
kind of thing
as a way to eat
darkness
among friends
darkness
from a stomach
a way to lose
blood’s password
yourself
in bread

IV.

the present happens at different times. fetus, comma, tadpole. surgery, please tell this mask

my face went down on nothingness.

V.

dream:

dream:

dream:

dream:

dream:

dream:

dream:

dream: a mummy obsessed with what doves eat

dream:

dream:

dream:

dream:

dream:

dream:

dream:

dream:

dream:

dream:

dream:

dream:

dream: sock puppets on oxygen

VI.

the brainwashed and the blindfolded will then switch children
and you will spend a year
a year
at least
throwing a slipper
at a farm machine

dream: grief a mile
grave
an inch…

you won’t eat much
and your eyesight
will trade its crow
for a bar of soap

your father will fake his death
to distract
room service
from his country
roots
and an insect
inside a stick
will die
and the stick
will live

VII.

the first murdered woman was not killed by her sister.

stop me
if you’ve
not heard

VIII.

this dream again where no one likes me

the overeater I sleep for

~~~~~

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