Devon Balwit

[Max Ernst and the Summer Solstice]

Well-tempered characters, we limit the peak to peak value between our indignation and our indulgence. We see no faces in burnt toast. Whether here by divine fiat or chance, we make the same commute. We trim back our garden beds and bin the throttled petals. Our offspring please and disappoint us by turns as does the provisional nature of our bodies. Still we are grateful for them. We skein ourselves together and hobnob in an angle of limbs. Alternating between shots and seltzer, we irrigate our ear canals with ideas and feel wet as they drain. We walk our dogs in the melancholy dusk and pick up after them, mostly.

Dancing in a Ring

I want to see what they see, but like a child, can’t peer over. Er,
let me in, I say, but they close ranks, a brotherhood, hooded.
I run up and down, pressing, peering, ring
impenetrable, like a lost dog sniffing for familiar odors, doors
shut, all strange. And if I look within, what then? Then,
as in the Holy of Holies, there might be nothing, nothing
the king’s dingus dangling, exposed. If I shout this out, out
in the world, perhaps they will topple like my willow, lower
each year until the whole trunk cracks like bone. Own
the envy, the fawning projection, I chide. I’d
join if they let me.

I want to see what you see, but like a child, can’t peer over, vert
my gaze within your circle. Let me also touch the bright orb, orbis
mundi. Explain to me the way of pronouncements, cement
bunkers, fields blossoming bones, onerous
meetings of power with power. Were
I you, I might be different, rent
cross-grain. More likely, once having golden touch—ouch!
I’d get up to the same mischief, chief
of demons. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. (Oh.)

I want to see, but like a child, can’t, can’t!
Can only, endlessly speculate, late
to the party. I sniff and prowl, owl
eyes piercing the dark for puny hearts, art
my only comfort, my only forte.

First Swimmers

All chordata bloom from a single spine, opening and closing like cootie-catchers, first assays painted over, yet still visible beneath the skin of what came later. Limbs pinwheel through blue, reaching for the four corners, lost in the dreamy slip of water across secret places, whispering inwardly, oblivious to future iterations.

(After Pablo Picasso’s La Nadadora (La nageuse), 1929)


How we all want to be seen, through the lens
                of love, aperture just

wide enough, light limning our best
                features, what we hunger for

doubled in our eyes, the moment’s
                flattery, fulsome

before bubble-burst, before the nothing
                that comes after.

The Unveiling

No Jesus up a tree, nor martyred saint. No brothel virgin, softened for entry. Unhanded, stripped of limbs, I make a lively torso. Torqued. Persimmon sour. Your door opens to a window. Reveals a single dove looking where I’ve flown.

(after Nelly Sanchez’ “Juste Là…”)

Method & Madness

Each dawn, I tiptoe around tacks spilled overnight. My hands lever me light if not airborne. Threat clusters, but where? Always, a stray, and I find it. I could shine a lamp and kneel but am not so inclined. More natural, the blind stab and the oath, the yawing choleric dance.

Devon Balwit lives scarily close to the Cascadia Subduction Zone. She has six chapbooks and three collections out in the world. Her individual poems can be found or are forthcoming in journals such as The Cincinnati Review, apt, Posit, Cultural Weekly, The Timberline Review, Fifth Wednesday, The Free State Review, etc.

For more, see her website at: https://pelapdx.wixsite.com/devonbalwitpoet
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