Devon Balwit

Legacy of the Daughters of Danaus

I.
Oh, little gimlets—
What holes this papery day is already full of!

Why should we marry without love?
Why should we let the years leak from a sieve?
Each obedient act lengthens our chain by a link.

Instead, we throttle each rapist as he sleeps us off.
We drown our captors in the slop bucket.
We set husbands alight.

What’s it to us if we must cut off a breast
or build a shelter from windfall?
All we need is a hearth, a well, a season of ripeness.

II.
All day, gluing my church of burnt matchsticks
I dream of someone else entirely.

The daughter of such mothers, how
could we ever be wed? Who would trust us
with his sleeping sex, his slumbering pulse?

All day, we wander the fields barefoot,
leaving a trail of blood. Wild dogs
follow us home. We feed each one.

We gather windfall for jellies,
fashion pouches for simples. Love-hungry,
we’re taken for witches.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa(after Sylvia Plath’s “The Jailor”)

***

 

Devon Balwit teaches in Portland, OR. She has six chapbooks and two collections out or forthcoming: How the Blessed Travel (Maverick Duck Press); Forms Most Marvelous (dancing girl press); In Front of the Elements (Grey Borders Books), Where You Were Going Never Was (Grey Borders Books); The Bow Must Bear the Brunt (Red Flag Poetry); We are Procession, Seismograph (Nixes Mate Books), Risk Being/ Complicated (with the Canadian artist Lorette C. Luzajic), and Motes at Play in the Halls of Light (Kelsay Books). Her individual poems can be found here as well as in Muse A/Journal, The Cincinnati Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Fifth Wednesday, Red Earth Review, The Fourth River, The Free State Review, Rattle, The Peacock Review, and more.

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