Devon Balwit teaches/parents in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. She has six chapbooks and three collections out in the world. Her individual poems can be found or are forthcoming here as well as in journals such as The Cincinnati Review, apt, Posit, The Inflectionist Review, The Free State Review.
And for entertainment, a black scarecrow
No one ever bothered to take down—
a figure one-half specter and one-half clown
Here in the aftermath, harvest done,
stalks rasp, bowed by crow shadow.
The fields fold in on themselves,
a corrugation of frost and wind.
I fold, too, hiding from the house,
its static of undone tasks. Balky
in harness, I refuse to tidy, to care
for, wanting just to hang my head.
Soon mother will clatter the hung tin,
a din she knows reaches wherever
feet can take me. I will home
to the flare of the sinking sun,
flickering as I light the stove,
hands blind about their business.
Both cloud and crust, I incarnate
ground zero for each megaton, the best
my brethren can bang out in factories.
Somewhere in a bunker, a soldier
under orders gets a bead on me and
depresses the trigger. I’m easy to hit
and know the drill. For a while, I am
nothing but shadow on brick, a Geiger-
counter sputter. After an eternity
of half-lives, I am once again habitable.
There is beauty in repeated shattering,
the kiln-glaze crackle of frantic lace.
(after Alberto Burri, Bianco cretto, 1973)
In my favorite photo, Janice shimmers joy,
a giddy too-muchness, like a bird of paradise,
exuberant. Gone is suburban dun, twice
unlooked-at. Now, kissing the mic, she toys
with men, on stage by choice. She hopes
all who knew her then are watching, sick-
hearted at having missed the pearl in flicked-
wrist dismissal. True, she’s dope on dope,
but it cuts the spotlight’s unceasing glare
as she burrs want to strangers, rasps and growls,
wistful, burnishing for show her solitary howls.
A thing of many feathers, she has them to spare.
That final needle, going in, seems so sweet,
and not a soldier’s stagger, fleeing defeat.