After one death, there is another. Poetry is dead all the time. Is the orphan of our notified life. Rooted wildness, outlandish conformity. When my grandmother passed away earlier this year, was poetry gave a future to any moment failed by my presence.

When my youngest son was diagnosed with a rare progressive disorder of the muscles and the brain, was poetry offered its amnesia as the combination to its blank safe. Some would say our empty protest of verse lands us on the steps of nothing. Why, then, these steps? You can’t catch a fish with the shadow of a bird. But you tried, right? You tried in that poem your friend wrote, the one where a stone ate a star. And is maybe still eating.

There are line breaks in my prayer for scansion. I am saying this is holy. I am saying this is common. How many hearts does god have? Of how many does she lose track? I am poor from being poor and poetry is still dead. Unforgive me.

Barton Smock lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife and four children. He writes at kingsoftrain.com, and is the author of Ghost Arson (Kung Fu Treachery Press, 2018). Is the editor of {isacoustic*}.

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