Sometimes in winter,
the light catches the water
to reveal ice-bloom,
a strange lace
very like the fungus
that occasionally dapples
my belly and sends me
reaching for cream,
for no reason, really,
so gentle a guest is it
as we briefly share a skin.
Devon Balwit is working on welcoming the stranger.
How like Banksy, God is,
our hidden telomeres
programmed to shred
just when we become
sure of our worth, our
readiness for a climate-
cabinet, for an encomium-
gavel banging down
on a million-four,
our loved-ones gaping
at our disintegration.
Devon Balwit wouldn’t mind being the Banksy of verse.
Whatever war-damage it has suffered,
however smaller it has become,
it is still a wonderful city.
Either we are or are not a great empire,
some days reigning from a distant throne,
cells well-trained legions splitting
and sloughing, others chasing rebellions
raging far and wide, everywhere burning
to the smack of clubs, the cloy of carrion.
Devon Balwit is her body’s benevolent despot.
Look, look away, the feed’s grim dance,
the lesser kudu, all whorled iridescence,
holding me a full breath or more, while
the starving polar bear, a slink of ribs and
misery, catches my eye only long enough
to identify it, before, unable to soothe and so
sick to see, like a rubbernecker passing
shatter, blood-spatter, I move on.
Devon Balwit admires and worries about the earth’s creatures.
The Lesson of Ilmarinen
Before you feed your forge,
otherwise, though ductile,
your metal will cool
bent, your golden crossbow
ever-hungry for blood,
the prow of your shining
ship locked towards war,
your bright ox belligerent,
all hoof and horn,
your shimmering plow
and by the time you work
your gleaming mill,
you, too heartsick
to knead its grain,
its salt seasoning only
Sometimes even the greatest struggle delivers something bent. Devon Balwit never stops believing in the next time.
Always scavenging, my husband
cannot say no to a free box, arms
spilling castoffs, broken things,
books in languages he cannot even read.
Devon Balwit religiously guards her one countertop. Anything of her husband’s that touches it gets swept to the floor.
When the dog ate my French
novel, I was mad, but when it ate
my bra, I was not even sorry.
Devon Balwit learned late in life that she is a sucker for dogs.
We clean the rental house before we go,
regretfully, room by room, gathering up
all we brought, much as we will do
with our bodies when it is time.
Devon Balwit is fighting the good fight and refuses to dress her age.