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November 15, 2016 / barton smock

feasts of projection (i – xv)

(i)

were it not a mouthful, she’d have been disfigured by the mirage touched by god to oversee the transformative reading of the trapdoor’s bible of knock-knock jokes

(ii)

the story of her brother’s drowning
her father’s
haunted
toolbelt

told
separately

to the arsonist
who

while pulling
her by
the leg
from the house
of her sister
the fasting
mudwrestler

said

dig, you

tunnels
torch
the dark

(iii)

what is the baby doing on the floor

this tv show
about shyness
wow

she makes weight, auditions
naked
for the face
of god

is death
still known
for its one
mistake

(iv)

the stranger and the magician
walk the dog
their baby
girl
looks like

/ what the orphanage
knows
the nursing home
doesn’t

(v)

she prays to food

food
be gentle

birth
still leaves
me out

(vi)

she recognized

the poster
from the boy
she’d been seen
by dogs
with, her mother

was gone
her father

grey as water’s
last
meal

dyed
the wigs

(vii)

one woman’s sorrow
is another’s
intermission

bread don’t break
not in blood’s
backyard

acne

illiteracy

(viii)

she is holding the bird up to the phone
she is crushing
the bird
can your voice
and mine
caught swimming
swim…

I think of my mother in her block of ice summoning a curling iron and of my father sending a robot to prison. of a leafblower named mercy hugged by my brother for outing my sister’s electric chair. of nakedness, poor nakedness, always playing itself in the story of had I not been invented I would’ve had to exist. the black eye how it quoted swan.

(ix)

obscurity’s footnote

mom’s
prescription
blood

a lamb
nosing
a bar of soap
into the path
of those

women

burned
by blackboards

(x)

around the time god stopped writing men

I took
a ghost-like
custody

of a property

a ruin
of melancholy
trespass, my father’s

dream-ending
stomach

(xi)

return is the first stage of a life’s work

god
loses
eden

every so often
I use my breast
to open
the photographer’s
mouth, her hair

alarms
the dead

(xii)

lost on crow

why star
won’t move, why woman

would make
hand signals

for satan’s
toybox

(xiii)

the double life of the man who’s not seen her baby devoured

/ the bread crumb
becoming
milk’s
nightmare / the way

to resurrection’s
hospice

(xiv)

it put mine on backward
the creature
that switched
my mother’s
feet

if the ear said anything
her ear
said

that’s the kick
of a twin

(xv)

she highlights
an entry
on hair loss
in the cannibal’s
diary

dearest echo, language
has a country
it can leave

one holds the owl and one pours the paint

/ knowing
how to dream
they choose
this

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