2 Poems | Devon Balwit


she hates the vulnerability of the body,
that the body can be broken, broken into,
that the body is a leaky bag with weak
doors, the thin eyelids, the seam of the
lips, the sex, the puckered sphincter,
she hates that things force their way in
and out without consent, that bodies so easily
fall when pushed, tripped, shot, that bigger
bodies knock down smaller ones, cage them,
blow them up, that their softest skin can
be mauled and molested, that they
can be drained, left empty, she hates that
the body, time and again, betrays the will,
collapsing well before the goal, flesh
not adamant, and what of that final,
inevitable failure, when, even if it has
survived all the other hazards that bodies
are prone to, the balky body remains prone?



pregnant, she laments that her body has become
foreign to her—not just commandeered
by the infant curled in its placental cockpit,
but rendered sexless by those it used to provoke—
her male students, baristas, lifeguards at the pool.
It’s not that I need dollars tucked into pasties,
she insists, but I would like to think that if my now
huge breasts split my suit, they’d inspire something
other than disgust, other than neutrality. It’s no fun
to devolve into a container. I feel you, I say, try
being 50, when it’s no longer temporary. In the blink
of an eye, you go from sexed to sexless, fuckable
to “Why the fuck should I care?” I’d give a lot
for neutrality. Women don’t get to be neutral,
capability alone. Always we must apologize for
swelling, for bleeding, for having grown old, for
reminding men that the bodies they once desired
won’t always service them, that bodies change,
as when, in enchantments, the skin pulls away
to reveal horns, a wing, a scaly claw.

Devon Balwit is a poet and teacher working in Portland, Oregon.  She has pieces upcoming in The Fog Machine, The Cape Rock, MAW, and Literary Mama.  In the course of a day, she wears many hats.  Her dog has mastered the art of knocking them all off.


Respond to this piece.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s