Approaching sirens wail, but I examine
glistening stonefly larva, balled
in an open palm, and a regal moth coif, elaborate
as any contessa’s. I count
the feathers of a barred owl’s wings,
for a moment shielded
by their spread blessing. I know the fate
of this and every other poem
having recently wandered the stacks
of the largest bookstore in my town,
pitying the slim volumes huddling
for warmth, each orphaned darling.
Better to consider the crystalline perfection
of snowflakes delivered
by the same technology that pinpoints
airstrikes but cannot spare
noncombatants, or to lose myself
in the archives of the surrealists,
a preserve for insomniac dreams,
the meticulous obsessions of three a.m.
As covertly as a masturbator, I pour over
Paphiopedilum and Phalaenopsis,
blossoms spread like blood-swollen privates—
all of this, species and souls,
evanescing, as it would even were the State
benevolent, and the earth not wheeling
at 1,550 km/hour, spinning skin into crepe,
bones into spun-sugar filigree.
Devon Balwit is a writer/teacher from Portland, OR. She has five chapbooks out in the world. Her poems have appeared in Rattle, The New Verse News, Poets Reading the News, Redbird Weekly Reads, Rise-Up Review, Rat’s Ass Review, The Rising Phoenix Review, Mobius, What Rough Beast, and more.