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Devon Balwit

Devon Balwit is the author of several chapbooks, including How the Blessed Travel (Maverick Duck Press, 2017); Forms Most Marvelous (dancing girl press, 2017); and In Front of the Elements (Grey Borders Books, 2017). She is a poetry editor for Minute Magazine, and teaches adult ESL at the Portland English Language Academy in Portland, Oregon, where she lives.

By This Poet


A Whiff of Center


[A]s was usual with him, he began with the least important thing and worked around and in toward the center where the meaning was.
        —Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood


First come mastication, micturition, and defecation, the Latinate cleansing of the everyday. And work. And the children. (I’m being honest here.) There’s the loading up and desultory wiping down. Then hypochondria and catastrophizing. The mindless scrolling through ephemera, the clicking, the emoticons. And only once these rites have been enacted is there the center where the meaning is. The portal to otherness, the far off, the dimension in which time stops. The turning over of glass after glass to read the sediment at the bottom. The laying out of cards. Haruspicy. The reaching out of the hand to pull back the curtain on the Holy of Holies. Some days God stands there, naked, some days he doesn’t show his face—either way, the niceties must be obeyed, the working the way in toward the center, deferential but hungry, nostrils flared for the faintest scent.