Barton Smock lives in Columbus, Ohio, with a wife who is her own and their four children whom are not property. He has recently self published, by both angel and demon, a book of poems ‘the paper dolls have been cutting your hair’.
I was limping the edge of the pond so as to confirm in the world my clearance given to me as before by frogs. my punched nose was warm and my grief melted from it and I cupped my hands together for the blood and what mixed with it and when the cup was full I halved it and my already thick shoelaces thickened. soon into this drama one frog jumped from the pond and I was startled. startled too that indeed it was no frog but a toad or some form of toad. I followed it woozily from my father’s land onto the land of my enemy. the toad was dull save for its hop from water and save for its courage and save for a sickly orange spot on its back that was a star when the toad paused and a mangled star otherwise. a couple times I lost the toad, the land was new, but I knew to stop and the toad knew to rustle or in my more desperate moments to come wholly back. everything had been planned and my body wanted to be generous to the toad and it was hard not to run or use my hands or ruin this paradise that I knew then as vengeance but now as existential plagiarism which is nonetheless vengeance. I would not rub the toad over me and I had to convince myself repeatedly. the boy was no doubt inside the house as his dog was not to be seen but his sister was sprawled on two towels put short end to short end as she was very tall and her sunglasses were cocked enough so that her right eye could see mine. the toad was in her mouth immediately and then her throat bulged but was back to its original in no time. I lost the toad forever then but its orange star surfaced on the right and then the left of her belly button. I told her I would see her at school and I would but this was the last time I would see her in anything but an overcoat and the boy would try and come close but never again pin me down.