This collection of poetry by Devon Balwit takes a beautiful look at intimate moments, secret dreams and confessions. Her language and rhythm are as lovely as they are startling. The poems in this book pull you deep into their story and leave you changed. She writes at the end of the poem “Down There,” I could do this forever. I feel the same way about reading these miraculous, powerful and honest poems. This book will leave you breathless, and I often found myself so moved that I actually spoke out loud my enthusiastic response of yes!! This collection is a powerhouse. — Matthew Borczon, author of A Clock of Human Bones
The world spins me, tucked into its spokes,
thoughts a gymnast’s ribbon flaring, altered
by degrees, wheeling through sun and
shadow. I stretch, twist, pull tight, the
maypole center of vast forces. Journeying, I
am herm, wherever I stand, center. The light
about me breaks color. I gather shards, pocket
palettes. I toss fracture this way and that,
sowing the jagged.
The fists, for now, find me. Trick is to let the
pain explode outward, concussion’s cloud
cloaking ache. Time and again, scar-sutured,
I reassemble. Dread regrows, but I tie it back,
like hair. I refuse to believe the cat
unfriendly, lower myself, dogged, to its
claws. One day the blow won’t fall, between
it and me an infinity of half-ways.
The wind gusts my skirt. Panicky, I slap it
down, fretting, no panties, no panties,
remembering sitting spread-kneed on
bleachers, a Girl Scout leader barking, shut
your legs! as indignant as if I’d left a burner
on, a faucet running. The cool current teases
like skinny dipping, water slipping
everywhere, the surprise as luscious as being
five and masturbating, squeezing, squeezing,
thinking I could do this forever.
From the Trenches
The cold sings to us over the throb of our
wounds, a melody difficult to resist. It slips
its hands beneath our clothes and caresses.
We can feel ourselves harden although we
wish it were otherwise. Even our tears freeze,
stalactites of grief. Our last letters crinkle
against us as we writhe, whispering, as at our
funeral. We want to scratch some mark into
the stones beneath our cheek, our final resting
place, but we have nothing but our nails,
fungal and soft. We only bleed. Already, the
hungry ground swallows us up. We shout
mother, mother in a vast fugue, voices all
around. This is the best we can do, this
composition of gore.
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Devon Balwit teaches in Portland, OR. She is a poetry editor for Minute Magazine and has seven chapbooks and one full-length collection out or forthcoming: How the Blessed Travel (Maverick Duck Press); Forms Most Marvelous (dancing girl press); In Front of the Elements (Grey Borders Books), Where You Were Going Never Was (Grey Borders Books); The Bow Must Bear the Brunt (Red Flag Poetry); Risk Being/ Complicated (self-published with the Canadian artist Lorette Luzajic). Her full-length collection, Motes at Play in the Halls of Light will be published by Kelsay Books in 2018. Her individual poems can be found in Cordite, The Cincinnati Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Fifth Wednesday, The Stillwater Review, Red Earth Review, The Fourth River, The Free State Review, Posit, and more.
Copyright © 2017 Devon Balwit
Cover photograph from the colelction of Lauren Leja
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review or scholarly journal.
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