Barton Smock: Five Poems


after seeing the girl I have a crush on sign my
friend’s arm cast, I spend the weekend jumping out
 of a tree, trying to land on my left, in the backyard
 of the last person who knew to hide the head of
 god. I break nothing but the blood from my nose
 could fill a football. vandalism starts in the face. it’s
dark. I treat my mouth like a scratch.


boys on land

a birdwatcher with broken hands, I am the cry of my mother’s body.  she climbs the tree she was left in and smokes back the years of breathing underwater.  whatever you’ve been through, this poem waited for me to survive.



how am I not a dream? I am not a place. I can’t say
rabbit but can robot. my god knows one story. those
I count when I’m sad are those I count when happy.
grandfather means pipe-smoke and grandmother
an outdoor pool. their daughter is a lamb-haunted
horse. I see Ohio as an ear but still I ask what
happened to the ear in question. I don’t sleep
unless I need proof I never. I am older than the
brothers I scare. travel is my sister’s vehicle. my
dog is chewing on a rubber hand. it can’t be dark in


my quiet quiet son

“Probably I’ll die like this,
  a long time ago.”  Franz Wright 

I will never forget hearing god pronounce your name
to a ghost obsessed with wolves

out there in the dogness  



fog overtakes toad
& boys
are born.

ghost yoga. crucifixion.

train is a tunnel
train’s never

two dead crows- I’m shoeless again.


(Author photo by Mary Ann Smock)

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