The 2River View 23.2 (Winter 2019)

Devon Balwit


the accusations come regularly as trains //
there must be a terminal if there is track //
the banging must be mechanical /
couldn’t possibly be fists //
Shostakovich paced his lobby
night after night / suitcase in hand /
awaiting arrest // he didn’t want
to be taken in sleep // I prefer
not to be taken at all / to remain
a point from which I might proceed
in any direction // my enemies
want me monochrome / restricted in palette //
like Procrustes / they seek to fit me
to their headboard // I advocate
for the in between / for this and that /
they want an end to me // period //

Halcyon Days: A Golden Shovel

Death just hangs around while you wait
for it to be night then wait for it to be morning.
Every day you've said goodbye a little.
Lucia Berlin

When they come for you, you think of death,
yet theirs are small fists, just
enough to bloody, to free one flap of lip that hangs
as you do, slinking so as not to be seen. Around
the dinner table, you keep your head down, wolfing while
your folks bicker. They don’t notice you,
swollen and furious. You wait
until you reach maximum invisibility, then exit, homing for
the bunker of your room, where you wait out your youth. It
takes forever to get to
the next level of suffering, to be
raised from the dead. At night
you whisper both side of the conversation, then
peer through cracked blinds. You wait
on tenterhooks for novelty. For
you as for all untermenschen, dawn leers red threat. It
blares, Be wary. You ready yourself to
hug walls, strategize to be
alive at 3:30, at midnight, tomorrow morning.
Distractedly, your mother wishes you a good day, every
good-bye the same dusting of sugar. One day
they’ll knock and hand over your body. You’ve
dreamed her look, the satisfying shock, said
it will make the good-bye
worth it. You bite back a sob. You die a

Devon Balwit has published in journals such as The Carolina Quarterly, The Cincinnati Review, Fifth Wednesday, Grist, QU, Rattle, Sierra Nevada Review, The Sugar House Review, The Timberline Review, and Triggerfish.

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