Three Poems, Devon Balwit

By Devon Balwit*

The Displaced 

The squatters’
tents huddle
amidst blackberry
on the freeway
a gated community
they enter
via a gap
near the No
Trespassing sign.
They mark time
by the screeching
of commuter trains,
hurl their trash
on the tracks
or add
to the midden
along the path.
A shopping cart
with five-cent
reveals industry.
One day,
a dog waits patiently
beside two bikes
against a post.
By the next,
all have gone,
their only trace
a sprung umbrella,
and a tarp
from brambles.


I need more tequila before I can hear my son read Spanish,
bear the butchery of syntax and accent, the knowledge that
learning a language has meant mere memorization on par
with the state capitals, Boise rhymes with noisy. Another
shot will help me forget the dream of having birthed
a polyglot, be patient enough to film him making an omelet
while gabbling an equally beaten mixture. The problem is
I tell him this, and he will retell what I have said. His teacher
will file it alongside all the ways in which my parenting
isn’t textbook. I’m no photographer and my son’s no cocinero.
Nosotros dos hacemos huevos revueltos, my fingers reaching
into the frame to scroll his script as he reads, hand him, a beat
too late, what he’s talking about but has forgotten to set by, a plate,
the spices. In the end, it ends, paso uno become paso cuatro,
and we forgive each other as we chew an inedible omelette. Nos amamos.


Through the windshield, the streetlight gives your rolling hands a halo,
shines on my hands, still on the wheel, about to receive the joint, which
you will lift first to your lips then mine, your inhale coaxing a small glow,
the way it will coax the same from me later when I lie between your legs,
listening for it, filling lungs then head with a felted humming, the world
suddenly larger than this capsule in which we find ourselves, erasing the
boundaries of city, state, you, me, the moment, our acceleration pressing
us backwards, light streaming a ribbon past the rolled down windows,
our laughter bouncing from the mile markers, fingers interlaced over
the gearshift, the rolling papers, the matches, the baggie that we should
hide, but don’t, trusting, if only for a moment, in universal benevolence.

*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 in numerous print/on-line journals, among them: Oyez, The Cincinnati Review; Iconoclast, Red Paint Hill, The Ekphrastic Review, Calamus, Immix, Serving House Journal, Timberline Review, Trailhead Magazine VCFA, The Prick of the Spindle, and Permafrost


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