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April 6, 2022 / barton smock

( dying asterisk ( edited, left alone, and/or

After one death, there is another. Poetry is dead all the time. Is the orphan of our notified life. Rooted wildness, outlandish conformity. When my grandmother passed away, was poetry gave a future to any moment failed by my presence.

When my youngest son was diagnosed with a rare progressive disorder of the muscles and the brain, was poetry offered its amnesia as the combination to its blank safe. Some would say our empty protest of verse lands us on the steps of nothing. Why, then, these steps? You can’t catch a fish with the shadow of a bird. But you tried, right? You tried in that poem your friend wrote, the one where a stone ate a star. And is maybe still eating.

When my grandfather, my aunt, my father-in-law, my grandfather...ah. Hell if I know. A trace of deletion. An afterparty for the advertisers of illness. I used to smoke so I could stand over a thing that didn't have a ghost.

If people knew about my teeth, I don't think they'd read my poems. Like you, I was tricked into being beautiful.

There are line breaks in my prayer for scansion. I am saying this is holy. I am saying this is common. How many hearts does god have? Of how many does she lose track? I am poor from being poor and poetry is still dead. Unforgive me.

partially before HERE

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