Devon Balwit is a poet and educator from Portland, Oregon. She has a chapbook, Forms Most Marvelous, forthcoming from dancing girl press (summer 2017). Her recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous journals, among them: Oyez, The Cincinnati Review, Red Paint Hill, The Ekphrastic Review, The Journal of Applied Poetics, Timberline Review, Trailhead Magazine VCFA, The Prick of the Spindle, and Permafrost.
“If there’s no bottom in your eyes, they hold more.”
Hazel Motes, Wise Blood
We put a float in the toilet tank
to take up space and do the same
with our eyes, filling them with
rocks so the world sits shallowly.
The thought of too much suffering
streaming in makes us blink, the
children covered with blood and
plaster dust, the dogs cringing on
too-tight chains. Bottom and false
bottom we put in to lift us, otherwise,
we’d blind ourselves, and how then
would we fill the hours with only
ourselves reflected in our darkness?
Waiting, she becomes a wall, still
as a corner,
forgotten as baseboard. Like the curtain,
for the faintest breeze. Outside
storm clouds mound, sending
across her cheeks. She would open it
if she could,
but, like her, it has been locked,
of spent flies revealing how long.
to the quick, she fingers a trail
of toothed scabs
suggesting self-harm. She remembers
feels nothing. She has exhausted
with each upholstered whorl, run every
of parquet. Sometimes, she hears
but no one comes. She knows
her own blood, endlessly pacing
its bone vault.