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October 26, 2020

3 Poems

Tyler Barton

Wren in Grandpa Fritz’s Kitchen 

I don’t love when Gen X says Fuck
And I hate when Gen Z says it. But 
I love when Baby Boomers say Fuck
Often the Fucks leave them like the eggs
parading from the mouth of the woman 
in the movie Airplane! (1980). You know 
the scene where they yell through the cabin
for a doctor to help heal this woman sitting 
wide-eyed watching her own lips in shock 
as egg after whole egg churns and emerges—
her tongue a conveyor belt for births. What 
I mean is that Fuck does not belong in the mouth 
of the Boomer, it just doesn’t, and I didn’t
make the rules, Boomers did, so the utterance 
of Fuck is always an act of expulsion. 
It’s also a kind of gift, because of course 
the egg will fall and smack the kitchen floor, 
and that shattering is one age-old way 
of hatching. Out comes this funny, deformed 
bird you will never evict from the house. What 
I mean is that a Boomer cannot mulligan
a Fuck. There’s no churning back. I’ll also add
that you should absolutely name that bird 
in your house. For screaming purposes. Get! 
gets old, Leave! gets old. Shoo! does too—
but listen to me now—Fred! never dies.



Even though it’s dented and rust
has come a bit to the bumper
my neighbor and his squeaking son
still wash it.

They do a pretty
good job.



In the pandemic-empty parking lot
the Amish offer fritters and shoofly
from the back of a grimy white big rig.

The queue that forms is made of no one.
The empty line is still
very much there. I sweat past on a bicycle.

In ironed slacks the Amish are staunch
against the gonging clock of earth. I want
to wave. Don’t. My want is waved

back. In sixth grade I wore a shirt
on which a cartoon fish said, “Bye, bye!”
and the girl whose training bra I glimpsed

in Science through the abbreviated sleeve
of her Superwoman shirt stalked behind
me calling, “Bye, bye, Ty-Ty! Bye,

bye!” There is always something
to confess about the past
that is only a mourning for

the ruined now.
We took the fan from the window
and the owl-face fled the bedroom.

What does your alarm clock do,
little bowl-cut blond boy, a crescendo of beep?
In and out of sleep like missing

calls from hidden numbers.
Spam Likely, warns my iPhone.
Hello, Mister Likely.

My face stores fat
in places I thought it would
one day display The Kindness Trophy.

Wrinkles rounded and soft with giving.
Half lidded eyes. So, that’s what
that looks like. Listen, Spam. My man. It’s Tyler.

The coastline glow a left-on light
makes around the door of night.
Goodbye. Goodbye. Good! Bye!