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Wednesday, March 07, 2018


by Devon Balwit

Frances McDormand at the microphone and other women nominated for Oscars standing in the audience. Credit Patrick T. Fallon for The New York Times.

The woman crackled when handed
the mic, her anger having traveled
a long distance, gathering momentum.
She glared at the panel on literary activism.
Shame, she said, on you. They hadn’t spoken
badly as far as I could tell, so I awaited
her verdict. It was their ratio that rankled—
three men to a single woman. Her finger quivered
as she counted. I feel like a woman inside,
one man quipped, discomfited. No smiles.
Now I know what each of the four
should have demanded, an inclusion rider,
all chairs left empty until equitably filled.

Author’s Note: Inclusion riders! How I needed this concept two weeks ago when I attended a writers' conference in Mexico. It would have saved me some puzzlement.

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