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Things Speak to Us by Devon Balwit | Micro-poetry | #thesideshow

May 19, 2017
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May 20, 2017


(Doors )

The glass knob sheers off in his hand, slicing a deep gash, a doorway between the body and its functions. His blood races through this new door and resists its closing.

To replace the knob, I dismantle the mechanism, a metal box, cold to the touch. The door is now less than a door, a slab of wood with a cavity clear through. In its recesses, I find a bean, a wad of paper, a penny, a pin: small items that protest the spying keyhole.

Repaired, the door again becomes a magician, making rooms disappear and reappear with a turn of the wrist. But the knob is no longer neutral. It has a will of its own. It has teeth.

(On water / On Stone)

Andy Goldsworthy weaves sheep’s wool, flower petals, thistle, sculpts ice, stacks cairns at low tide. Scott Wade paints in window dust. Vik Muniz paints portraits in garbage. Ephemera moves us.

Cave and fresco painting, sculpture, the pyramids, Stonehenge, the Nazca lines. Even when cracked, eroded, defaced, encroached upon, the struggle of an opus to endure moves us.

Singers, musicians, dancers make what disappears in an instant. This evanescence moves us.

We look into living eyes and see death, the tiniest of matryoshkas, tucked inside each pupil. This tender secret moves us. Death’s doorway.


A lifetime resolves into the contours of a face:
days of sun, pain, wind, laughter,
the squinting at a screen or the horizon,
the weight of glasses on the bridge of a nose.

The photo proves your grandmother was a baby
in the arms of her grandmother.

The archaeologist doesn’t see the same field we see,
but a temple beneath the mound or the neighborhood
clustered where grass now divots.


The high priest of the temple
approached his victim cloaked in bird feathers,
scapular an iridescence of parrot and macaw.

His thoughts as he cut the hearts from his victims
are hidden forever in the bone wells of his eyes
the bas-reliefs of his pyramids.

The trilobite never imagined itself
dangling from human ears
just as you and I can’t imagine



From the backseat window
other people’s lives are scenery—
shoebox houses, parked cars, a dog in a fenced yard,
sun shadow, a swing set.

The dead bird in my garden
has feathers, wings, a beak, but no kind—
sparrow? thrush? wren?
Did it die of old age, disease, a cat,
its own reflection?

There can be no suffering, no joy
apart from my eyes.
The world enters through such small doors.

About the Editor

Devon Balwit is a teacher/poet from Portland, OR. She has two chapbooks: How the Blessed Travel (Maverick Duck Press) & Forms Most Marvelous (forthcoming with dancing girl press). Her poems have appeared in Five 2 One previously as well as other nifty places, among them: Glass: A Journal of Poetry, The Peacock Journal, The Cincinnati Review, The Ekphrastic Review, The Stillwater Review, Tule Review, Sierra Nevada Review, Red Earth Review, Aeolian Harp Folio Anthology, and The Inflectionist Review.