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September 17, 2014 / barton smock

homing

I’m here, now, if you want to put a bug in your dad’s ear about pouring coffee. in the war the thing I felt crawling up his spine became his spine. in the war I called it abandoned and he said not while we’re in it. he scratched the worst looking dog into the side of it so we’d know it was a church. I shared more than once how I’d be stupid as that dog to guard a dogfight and less than once how jesus would’ve been a suicide bomber had the crowd been clueless. we cried about women and children and by our crying they were found.

September 16, 2014 / barton smock

lightning show

I am counting on my fingers
in front of a mirror
those I’ve known
who’ve died
of fright.

I am working the loosest brick
from the house of god
while standing on the backs
of two kids
whose father
borrowed
then sold
a crowbar.

I am telling my abuser
how to direct
with a magnifying
glass
the stream
of god’s
piss.

I am charging the riding mower’s
battery, I am alone, I have a hair

on my head
for my son
to pull.

September 16, 2014 / barton smock

harmless escalations

the one time it crossed his mind to hit my mother, the garage door opened. the day I was born, a man called my mother at work and left a message that was mostly breathing. the story of the message was repeated to those born after me when each became old enough to need a laugh. when it was known no more would be coming down the pike, mother began hitting herself. it was in this era of standing room only that I was able to convince god we’d slipped into the water satan said was there.

September 15, 2014 / barton smock

barriers

many times
when I lifted you
I did so
thinking
you
were a cloth
I’d folded
for god’s
swollen
eye.

many times
I pinched you
so hard
you fell
asleep.

in all scenarios
god promised
me

the world
would not end
if he talked

about

your weight.

September 13, 2014 / barton smock

sessions

a raindrop
as impossible
as raindrop’s
double.

apple, this part of no
you understand.

bird beatings
I don’t
report.

we’re so hungry
I could eat a dog
in a dog
costume. I am having my mother’s dream

while you rub yourself
rabbit
beside the body
of boy
slender.

I see an ant
in an emptied
house
and hear
father
praising sleep

for happening. taking heart,

I tell
half
the story
of carrying
to term
god’s

emotional response
to being
denied
tenure.

draped in ghost

you’re dry
in a downpour.

September 12, 2014 / barton smock

solo

playing kitchen
for the cup
game
of grief

the blind drunk
sees

a mouse

September 12, 2014 / barton smock

fantasy

the cyclops dies having never heard you recite the last two letters of the alphabet. it’s 1983 and you’re all of seven. hearing beautifully gets you slapped for hearing things. you kick your frog legs on a swing going nowhere and try to touch your mind with your forehead. from a stolen bicycle you quote future passages written by a lover half your age. your pity has the lifespan of a voodoo doll. sound is the word of man god disobeys.

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