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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 2: March 2020
Poems: 51 words [R]
  40 words [R]
  58 words [R]
  22 words [R]
  36 words [R]
By Barton Smock

[A Quintet of Poems]




a mosquito 
on the thigh 
of god 

its mind 


an old 
one had 
of stars 


waiting with an uncle 
for any 

to pass 
the salt 


child in a hospital asking does time have enough 


is snow 
the mother 
of distance

Beginning Ache

the crow’s fear of inclusion. eve’s perfectly 
forgotten ribs. the nothing I mean to my 
dentist. the cemetery where all the un-boyed 
went to eat paper. the band-aid in the belly 
of a baptized child. yawn of kites.

Lit Ache

upon waking, my son knows he’s been moved. 
beside him I am crooked until he bites my arm. 
he is as heavy as the stomach of the angel that 
nightly kisses mine. illness has the patience of a 
shadow but cannot teach my eyes to kneel. 
time is god’s tenure as the lost tooth of sleep.

Stem Ache

in your ear is a spider afraid of the way I swim. 

I remain made of 

the winningest 

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.

—First four poems above are from Barton Smock’s self-published collection an old idea one had of stars (February 2020). “Tame Ache” is from his collection Motherlings (self-published, June 2019). Poems appear here with his permission.

Barton Smock
Issue 2, March 2020

is the author of a full-length collection of poetry, Ghost Arson (Kung Fu Treachery Press, 2018); a chapbook of poetry, infant*cinema (Dink Press, April 2016); and three self-published books of poetry. He lives in Columbus, Ohio, and writes often at kingsoftrain.com.

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