On the bus, I talk to myself, reviewing
the day’s tragedies. For each humiliation,
I shake my head like a dog clearing mites
or like a person battling Parkinson’s.
The oddness intensifies as I throw up
my hands to punctuate each inner whatever.
Someone watching is bound to pity me
but for the wrong reasons, thinking
me unable to afford my meds.
Freud marveled that a stroke could erase all
but the final word heard before the trauma.
With get or no the patient’s sole lexicon, think
of the power required to reveal love or enmity
or ask for the salt. As any word might be my last,
best to avoid monosyllables and speak only
in favorites—plangent or murmuration.
After work, I crave a drink but clock out
too early. What would it be like to pour anyway,
again and again. Again, I tsk and shake my head.
My dog pities this needless complication
of pleasure. I throw his gutted bear. He cracks
its plush neck, spinning amidst cottony innards.
ESTANSIA AL SUR II
My father tells the man he will not move
his car. Like an elephant carcass mounded
where it fell, only an army of scavengers
could budge him, even then, leaving the bones.
When asked for his ticket, he also refuses,
as if his standing in the theater doorway
were proof enough he should be given
whatever he asks, remaining upright
its own prize. His hands strain not
to let go. In a movie, others would haul him
to safety. Here, there is only falling, me
looking on. I want to comfort, but afraid
for myself, I salt abrasions, sorry-
assedness beating on me like the noonday
sun. I scurry from shade to shade,
my inheritance. I want nothing more
than to scuttle away. Knowing each excuse,
my father’s death mask rests on his desk,
regarding me from behind shut eyelids.
I position myself to be seen.
Devon Balwit teaches in the Pacific Northwest. She has six 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); and Motes at Play in the Halls of Light (Kelsay Books). Her individual poems can be found here in MER as well as in The Cincinnati Review, apt, Posit, The Carolina Quarterly, The Free State Review, Peacock Journal, The Ekphrastic Review, Eclectica, SWWIM, and more.