The shorebird huddles on the sand, ill or injured.
I lift and look but can find nothing amiss except
abjection. A few paces away, hungry gulls await
my departure. I imagine tomorrow’s carcass,
bones still flesh-flecked, a stray feather ruffling
in the unceasing breeze.
My children often returned from school,
bruised by rejection, each tale a clapper
wringing me desperate to straighten
their hunch and hurl them back into flight.
Sometimes, I yelled to scare off weakness.
In photographs, the unlucky stare at me from
overcrowded boats, shanty doors, loops of barbed
wire. They squat by the roadside, keep vigil over
shrouded kin. Whatever I do will not decrease
their misery. Whatever I neglect to do increases
my own. They look as if they know this.
Devon Balwit is a poet and educator in Portland, Oregon. Her poetry has appeared (or will soon) in: 3 elements, Anti-Heroin Chic, Birds Piled Loosely, Bonk!, drylandlit, Dying Dahlia Review, Ink Salt & Tears, Lalitamba, Leveler, Of(f) Course, Red Fez, The Cape Rock, The Fem, The Fog Machine, The NewVerse News, The Prick of the Spindle, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, The Yellow Chair, Timberline Review, txt objx, vox poetica, and Vanilla Sex Magazine.