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At the Harvest Festival

in Gun Violence/Obituaries by

(after Plath’s “The Bee Meeting”)

No one is who they were. That man
with the spent magazine, once human, now
fire and smoke. And we too, dropping like leaves.
And the sirens that used to be song, the running
feet once tucked beneath breastbones.

I cannot run except forever. I root among mouths,
scream-rounded. That one I recognize from before
she opened like a flower. That one I don’t,
still. He won’t stop. Is it some operation
taking place? Does he smell our fear?

No heroine but a bent stalk, a median strip,
I disappoint. Is it the butcher, the grocer,
the postman, someone I know? All around,
phones lift like angel swords. They take
then leave me. Somewhere, I reappear.

People will ask how I am. I can’t bear it.
I would rather stay here forever, covered
in flung cups. Even now, I am carried,
the moment trailing after. Whose is that long
white box? Why am I so cold?


Devon Balwit writes in Portland, OR. She is a poetry editor for Minute Magazine and has five chapbooks 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); and The Bow Must Bear the Brunt (Red Flag Poetry). Her individual poems can be found in The Cincinnati Review, Fifth Wednesday, The Stillwater Review, Red Earth Review, The Fourth River, Posit, Emrys Journal, The Inflectionist, and more.

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