Devon Balwit has seven chapbooks and three collections out or forthcoming, among them: We are Procession, Seismograph (Nixes Mate Books), Risk Being/Complicated (A collaboration with Canadian artist Lorette C. Luzajic); Where You Were Going Never Was (Grey Borders Books); and Motes at Play in the Halls of Light (Kelsay Books). Her individual poems can be found in The Cincinnati Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Eclectica, The Ekphrastic Review, The Turnip Truck(s), Rattle, and more.
Both Echo and Abyss
By thinking, I made of myself both echo and abyss. By going deeper inside myself, I became many. – F. Pessoa
I follow my luciferase lantern,
benthic barbel glimmering,
its salt circle reach, the whole world.
Deeper in, proteins assemble
and disassemble, a magic of thrown
switches, a marvel of iron rails.
Should my little engineer lose himself
in dreams, I’d jump track, too much
of anything the death of me.
Sepia faces swim from dark boxes.
There I am, again, mysteriously
in each chitinous molt.
So much yearning caught
by the flash, this arrested pursuit
of a lost thing.
The Animal Dies / The Poison is Gone
*after Cristina Troufa’s Morreu o bicho acabou-se a peçonha
They will tell you all kinds
of things, wisdom pulled from tins
too long on the shelf, hoping,
with each cultured aphorism,
to cheer you up and move you
along. Time doesn’t so much
heal as fester, toxins brooding close
to the bone. Or, like a buried drum,
cracking containment and leeching,
losing no potency but gaining
distortion from retelling. Look
at yourself at the funhouse gate,
adept at luring yourself in for another
go-round. You have perfected
the innocent smile, the encouraging
beckon. The most supportive of bullies,
you walk yourself into labyrinth.
Afterwards, you tender each new bruise.
The animal dies, but its ghost cracks twigs
beneath your window, poison exhaled
before entering with your breath.
the eighth sefira: hodaya (הוֹדָיָה)
*after Salvador Dalí’s painting “The Eye”
from the vitreous, a pulling earthward
as lid oils groove to lift on the louring.
pupil, belladonna big, assesses terrain,
eight-barred and streaming from beyond.
horizon retreats from these parallel strands,
cloud rents leaking light, eye smudging
a small shadow, swelling its bright dome.
all around, air hums violet, far mountain
edging its way, hunched and humble, accepting
that, by nature, it may never witness miracle.