“Mr. Motes…what do you walk on rocks for?”
“To pay,” he said in a harsh voice.
“Pay for what?”
“It don’t make any difference for what,” he said.
(Wise Blood, Flannery O’Connor)
Doors both invite and close
against the knock. Walls exclude,
but ask for scaling. The smell of rot
brings vomit to the throat even
as one seeks the source. Scabs
hide the body’s business.
You imagine yourself a sullen river,
swollen with violence, scouring
growth on either side. Any
who lower their heads to drink
get sucked in.
You cover mirrors
and avoid windows, yet still
you look at yourself, intimate
with your landscape. Even
in darkness, what you can’t see,
So much mortification—
Do you really believe
the barbed wire
snagging your belly,
the shards in your shoes,
will bring God down?
Devon Balwit is a teacher and writer working in Portland, OR. She has two chapbooks forthcoming in 2017: how the blessed travel, from Maverick Duck Press, and Forms Most Marvelous, from dancing girl press. Her recent work has found many homes, among them: The Cincinnati Review, Red Earth Review, Noble / Gas Qtrly, Peacock Journal, Sweet, The Stillwater Review, Oyez Review, The Timberline Review, Poets Reading The News, The New Verse News, and Kindred.