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Stephen Scott Whitaker

Face Paint

Adam prefers black

when old man bruise is home.

Stress. Stress. Adam prefers to vanish into inky yard.

Vodka nips, cigarettes, Dear Old Dad. Stress makes skin sink.
Stress makes sweat stink.

Outside a tree scrapes glass: A tick a tuck-a tick a tuck-a tick-a-
scraw bree.

flake & rake, flake & rake.

Army grease,
a cheap Halloween tube.

and out.

Ease back door. Long leaping leg.
Into the yard. Two steps and out of the bled light.

Duck behind the shrubs.
Watch. Play. Pretend.

Call of Duty stalk.

Armed with what?

Stolen beers, wrinkled pack of Newports.


Translated from the small voice inside:

Vanish from love. Let it hurt and mangle.
Be hidden in the yardsafe,
The world won’t hurt you if you are dressed in its clothes.
Escape, escape, escape.

Stephen Scott Whitaker (@SScottWhitaker) is a member of National Book Critics Circle, and the managing editor for The Broadkill Review. His poems have appeared in Oxford Poetry, Grub Street, and Anderbo, among other journals. His first full length book of poems, All My Rowdy Friends, was a finalist for the 13th annual USA Book awards. His previous chapbooks include the Dogfish Head Poetry Prize winning Field Recordings.
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