Devon Balwit


I have been on the wagon for a single day
if you are generous with hours. I would like
to make a poem about it, a stink, a muchness.

You say come back in a week, a month, a year.
I say take the scribbled page and hang it on
the fridge. Tell me you know what it is, me

seeing if I can. The day unravels, stretching
from my navel to the sun and back, squealing
like a fan belt, frightening the dog with a pot lid

clatter. Pinching its edges between my nails,
I lift a sliver of need, but more mounds beneath
angry skin. The worst enabler, you pour yourself

a tumblerful. Not Narcissus, I look away from my
reflection. Even so, I swallow when you do and
feel the burn. Now that you are numb, blanket

my flames. You tell me to save myself. I argue
with your empty chair, sand mounding the hour glass.
When it empties, I flip it, for more of the same.


Day two is not easier. Like having a second kid, you know
exactly how bad crowning feels, the sharp perineal tear.
My only solace is in Djibouti—in saying it, that is—a new
student’s homeland. All day long, on top of sobriety’s
ratcheting panic, tension tweaking my shoulder blades,
Djibouti bounces. Djibouti, the lip purse of the middle
syllable making me inexplicably horny. Waiting for the bus,
in the tiger pit of the long afternoon, I’m accosted by the devil.
You’re old, he winks. Why change now? I shake Djibouti
like a conjure bag, think there is something new under the sun.
The devil disappears, but leaves behind his tiny monkey to poke
at my heart with sharp claws. This minute passes. Djibouti.

Author Portrait

Devon Balwit has two chapbooks: How the Blessed Travel (Maverick Duck Press) and Forms Most Marvelous (forthcoming with dancing girl press). Her poems have found many recent homes, among them: Glass: A Journal of Poetry, The Peacock Journal, The Cincinnati Review, The Ekphrastic Review, All the Sins, The Stillwater Review, Sierra Nevada Review, Red Earth Review, Aeolian Harp Folio Anthology, and The Inflectionist Review. She lives with her family in Portland, Oregon.