Bottoming Out by Devon Balwit

“The neurochemistry is so similar that it’s scary,” –Julian Pittman

O blue piscine, droop-finned.
O saline sorrow, interested in nothing

but bottom-muck, ventral and anal fins
dragging pebbles, the world muffled

by glass, only boredom within reach,
circuit after circuit, the same effort

to go the same distance, gills laboring,
tank water ever less breathable.

Please—a scuba diver, a dropped leaf,
a stick, a new feng shui—anything

to lift her to surface dapple, to a scalene
of odd angles. Imagine yourself

in such nothingness and count days.
A handful would break you, a lifetime

and your mouth would be as hers—gaping—
streamers of shit looping slow circles.




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 or are upcoming in Cordite, The Cincinnati Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Fifth Wednesday, The Ekphrastic Review, Red Earth Review, The Fourth River, The Free State Review, Rattle, Posit, and more.

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