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POETRY / Spoiler / Devon Balwit

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The past means your beautiful mother
still fogging the window with her dreamy
breath, not yet carrying your secret, but
hurrying towards your father, handsome 
and persuasive, one polished shoe slipped 
between door and door-frame. It means 
your passionate and dumb engendering.
There, the good girls sew poodle skirts
and pad their bras. The boys balance 
on the cusp of manhood, not sure
if they wish to fight or to evade the draft.
And further back still, your grandparents,
war-scarred or grateful to have escaped
the worst parts of the map. It’s all there,
the dwarflike TV in its giant box,
the table games, the cut-glass bowls
full of nuts, the gloves, the girdles, the
starched collars. Go ahead. Try 
to tell them what’s ahead. Wave 
your arms, get red in the face. No one 
heeds harbingers. For all your efforts to steer 
them otherwise, they finish here and now, 
the future a gun butt to the face.


Devon Balwit teaches in Portland, OR. She has six chapbooks and three collections out, among them: The Bow Must Bear the Brunt (Red Flag Poetry); We are Procession, Seismograph (Nixes Mate Books), Motes at Play in the Halls of Light (Kelsay Books), and Risk Being/Complicated (a collaboration with Canadian artist Lorette C. Luzajic). Her individual poems can be found in The Cincinnati Review, The Carolina Quarterly, apt, yes poetry, taplit mag, unbroken, under a warm green linden, The Inflectionist Review, and more.