goodbyes for exodus

goodbyes for exodus


there is a girl on our street who for a dime will eat any insect
that doesn’t die on its way to her mouth.  her dad watches and talks to us about god and how lonely it must’ve been to not know for so long which language to learn.  if there is food in my house, it’s gone. hunger is proof that I’ve struck only those people
who’ve entered my dream oblivious that they’ve come back for more.  the girl tells me that if I don’t close my eyes 

her ghost will think they are seeds


the night my father loses his teeth
he holds my hand
and confesses
that he once
punched his sister
for eating


before the film starts, a woman tries to sell us on mouthwash
for newborns.  my friends say she looks like my mother and then realize that their love for my mother makes them sad.  I tell myself that when I get home I will block the dog door with the small television that lightning took.


(our best bowler is a man who doesn’t shave because he thinks
there’s a parrot on his shoulder)


brother sits in a rocking chair and goes through the motions
of pretending to be electrocuted. I am tired but not so tired that I can’t shut off the chair. our animals continue 

to not 

tame ache

soap carvings
of birds
pulled mostly
from a son’s

here and there
a worm
wrapped around
a stone.

all imagery is the same.

if the food
is in your mouth

it’s too late.

film ache

at a certain height, nudity loses meaning

if bunk beds collapse in a museum made for
emptiness, does Ohio

from a crystal

no hawk
is a wasp, but every


I remember also when you called a tattoo


for the afterlife

I see a tornado
and my teeth
turn yellow

The first poem is original and the second and third poems are from the privately-published collection MOTHERLINGS, which can be purchased via Paypal (

MOTHERLINGS, 52 pages, 4.00
poems, June 2019

Animal Masks On the Floor of the Ocean, 114 pages, 10.00
poems, June 2019

Barton Smock lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife and four children. He is the author of the chapbook infant*cinema (Dink Press, 2016) and of the full-length Ghost Arson (Kung Fu Treachery Press, 2018). He writes often at, and is the editor of {isacoustic*}.

9 thoughts on “goodbyes for exodus

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s