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.
Now I Have What Once I Wanted
When young, I envied
the character-filled hands
of the old, with their ropey
veins and swollen knuckles,
so unlike my smooth doll-baby
hands, as yet unproven.
Devon Balwit‘s only regret is that she doesn’t have more than 10 fingers for silver rings.
Another global hacker has locked hard drives,
asking $300 in Bitcoin to liberate files,
and I wonder whether I should, instead,
beg them to freeze mine, and thus return
to an age of innocence and concentration,
heedless of likes and teapot tempests,
yet for all that, content.
Devon Balwit spends a lot of time scolding her son for gaming while surreptitiously checking her email.