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Sunday, January 20, 2019


by Devon Balwit

            for Mary Oliver 1935-2019

This morning, the world mirrors rather than mocks,
fog-shrouded, pines diffident in gauze.

Mary Oliver has died. Determined to save
the only life she could, even she yielded

in the end. Now, she awaits the mercy of time.
I read her and carry her memory one day further.

The spirit, she writes, needs the metaphor
of the body. Mine pains me and would do better

to seek another vessel. What sufferer can be
heroic? Look me in the eye, Mary. Tell me

all do not long to pass the dark baton.
Her cricket moves grains of sand, dedicated

to its humble effort, but what if, secretly,
it ached for more, the dead poet missing

the yearning shuttered behind its elytra?
I appreciate evangels, welling good news,

but old gods are not so easily shed. Jealous
of our attention, they are not above

turning our heads where they want our gaze
or of swallowing the prayers of well-wishers.

Devon Balwit's most recent collection is titled A Brief Way to Identify a Body (Ursus Americanus Press). Her individual poems can be found here as well as in The Cincinnati Review, Tampa Review, Fifth Wednesday (on-line), Apt, Grist, and Oxidant Engine among others.