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Wednesday, July 12, 2017


by Devon Balwit

There are so many ghosts in our machines—their locations so hidden, their methods so ingenious, their motives so inscrutable—that not to feel haunted is not to be awake.  —Walter Kirn, The Atlantic, November 2015
We dish dirt over drinks—husbands, work,
yearnings—the room so crowded I yell

to be heard, but still wish our phones
elsewhere, mics disabled, wish everyone’s

locked away, apps always asking
for locations, each talking to the other

in a digital chorus, strands in an unseen web,
vibrating. When the photos in my feed

echo, the upflung arms of child mirrored
in an abstract painting, or when memes

ripple outwards, themes kaleidoscoped
myriad, this is no accident,

the fancy of my poetic nature. Like a
kook in a backwoods cabin, I mutter

about the eye in the sky, but know
my needle port already inserted,

perhaps now running saline, but
at any time opiates or annihilation.

Each keystroke resonates elsewhere,
saved in cold storage by the NSA

in Utah or somewhere in Russia, fodder
for the clever, data points in the on-going

experiment. We’ve been turned inside out,
pockets filched of coin. A single finger

can undo us, and, like any with a knife
pressed so intimately, we obey.

Devon Balwit is a writer/teacher from Portland, OR. Her poems have appeared in TheNewVerse.News, Poets Reading the News, Redbird Weekly Reads, Rise-Up Review, Rat's Ass Review, The Rising Phoenix Review, Mobius, What Rough Beast, and more.