What We're Made Of
Netflix crashed, and we’re left to the tenderness
of our lover’s ears seen from behind. What can
we do with the long evening, summer not yet
done? Unscripted, we come up with nothing
but a walk to the nearest six pack or recreational
bud, trolling for Pokémon along the way. Why
does hanging look cool in season three of whatever
while we feel bored? Bored or boring? my dad
would ask, spanked as a boy for having nothing to do.
What if the inside of our head really were a cell, us
trapped there for the duration? Could yours hold
you, or would you paint the wall with feces, undone?
One day, rest assured, the power will go out, our
phones become nothing but projectiles to hurl
into the nearest lake. We need to stock up, get ready.
Quickly—sirens are sounding. Save yourself.
Face to Face
The old man’s alarm goes off all night. We are livid.
One after another, we parade to his door, shouting and
pounding. We fill the cops’ blotter with complaints.
Come morning, enough light to peer past grimy slats,
we see him, hair askew, fumbling key after key, unable
to open the door. Asked if he needs help, a doctor,
he shakes and shakes his head, no English left, not even
Hungarian. He has no one who can come, one child
disabled, the other schizophrenic. The police arrive
with an ambulance, a fire truck, a locksmith. Apparently,
it takes a small army to liberate one old man from
decrepitude. They load him up and wheel him away,
alarm still blaring. We look at one another, relieved
and sobered. This is old age with no family. If we hadn’t
been pissed, he might have died in there, no one the wiser.
He was never friendly. No one would have missed him.
Now alarms shriek both within and without.
Devon Balwit is a poet and educator from Portland, Oregon. She has a chapbook, Forms Most Marvelous, forthcoming with dancing girl press (summer 2017). Her recent poems have appeared in numerous print/on-line journals, among them: Oyez, Red Paint Hill, Timberline Review, The Yellow Chair Review, The Journal of Applied Poetics, Vanilla Sex Magazine, Anti-Heroin Chic, The Rising Phoenix Review, Rattle, Rat's Ass Review, and The Ekphrastic Literary Review.