Barton Smock




Cenotaph
i.

half a smoke
there in the ice

and your brother
his fable;

I am under the stone
until snowfall
and then I am
the stone.

ii.

wage 
the announcement
of your body
as a shepherd 
to his staff
with which
heíll urge
the dead horse

dead, but itís as true
as a sheep 
shaking off
snow-

you know this horse
and the rider
beneath.

this ground
not for praying
wave

as to a widow
herded 
from the station
cursing
the train 

its freight 
of veils.





Carnivali
her first love
a clockmaker
in a forgotten
teacup.

her second love
she abandoned
in the topmost car
of a ferris wheel.

her third love
an eyeless 
thief

who once emptied
the coins
from his hat

onto the counter
of a small balloon 

shop.

her fourth love
left sugar
on her back

and a hook
breathing
under the coat

of her fifth. 




Extant
closed mouth
of a shopkeeper.

his finger
an abandoned
cross

the length 
of jesusí spine.

forgive
the hush
of forgiveness, forgive
the state
of my house.

we open
early
no light
is first.

we single out
the second
sons
to copy

scripture.

the barber
the dentist
good

and absent.

morality
we use it 
when two people

or more
run down the street.

we know
itís a bone
rolls down
the roof

     which bone
for years
we disagree.




Descendant
from the house
above the lake
the boy has come
for his red ball.

he picks up a stick
puts it down
and picks up another.

nothing will do.

I myself
with these long fingers
could probably
make a difference.

but I have him
falling

the little splash
of his motherís
wine glass

and the stages
of her nakedness
shifting
with each stair

as she flees
the flickering
party
I have been watching
from my place
by the lake

the lights
in each window
like buttons
in an elevator
I want

very much
to press.





Orphanís vigil
i.

strength
not the strength
a statue keeps.  

ii.

motherís hunger
the hunger

of marionettes. 

iii.

the beggar
father hides
and the beggar
he hides

behind.

iv.

brother
donít sleep.

the paper dolls
have been cutting
your hair.