Monday, 30 April 2018


It Had Been Going on For Years

by Devon Balwit


The novel’s protagonist, a mid-level bank clerk,
begins to experiment with the family pets,
putting the guinea pigs on glass-top tables,
spinning them on record players, subjecting them
to poking, to prodding, to weasels, to cats,
this and that in escalating increments, to see
what will happen, to assert himself,
an analogy easy enough to decipher yet
gauzy enough to hide behind should the State
take an interest, perhaps not so different
from the couple recently in the news,
who called their house a school and created
an innovative curriculum of chaining their children
to beds, starving them, limiting their play,
their contact with the outside world, to see
what would happen, to have control
over something. In both cases, the guinea pigs
looked into the abyss and wondered
in their small-pig way if this was how life was
for everyone—a brief, bitter swallow.

(after Ludvík Vaculík’s, The Guinea Pigs)


* * * * *

Devon Balwit teaches in Portland, OR. She has six chapbooks and three collections out, among them: We are Procession, Seismograph (Nixes Mate Books), Risk Being/Complicated (A collaboration with Canadian artist Lorette C. Luzajic); Where You Were Going Never Was (Grey Borders); and Motes at Play in the Halls of Light (Kelsay Books). Her individual poems can be found here as well as in The Cincinnati Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Fifth Wednesday, the Aeolian Harp Folio, Red Earth Review, Queen's College Quarterly, The Fourth River, The Free State Review, Red Paint Hill, and more.