(after Cunni’s The Forgotten Children)
The babies lift from the Good Book
like bodies from mud,
or crying, clamoring
for the breast or lamenting
as a choir. The babies
are red-spattered with afterbirth
or wounds from ritual
or crisis. Bullets
accompany them, ready.
Bless us in body
and in soul; make us
a blessing to our comrades,
asks the red-spattered page,
opened for prayer or last rites,
next to the babies.
The forgotten children
are being baptized
in a lake of suffering.
Lifted out, they look
sleepy, kittens held
by the nape, the mother cat’s
soft before hissing.
We wait here, we babies,
yolk in albumen,
souls milky and shy.
will you pick us up,
one by one,
and smack us
little joe gould #1
n.b. ye twang of little joe(yankee)gould irketh sundry
who are trying to find their minds(but never had any to lose)
little joe gould lies on his back in the graveyard atop
all his ancestors also lying on their backs, translating
the poems of his childhood into the language of sea gulls,
hands wheeling overhead like wings. his hands lift him.
his ideas lift him. he paces the streets all night long, talking
to himself or cawing or croaking, or if he gets too tired,
riding the subway one end to the other, his brain racing,
end to end, end to end, him trying to keep it in its tracks,
writing on his lap in letters too shaky to read, the history
of everything he’s ever seen or heard. we slip him
a buck here and there, buy him breakfast or a beer,
swap out one ill-fitting suit for another, letting him
be crazy for us (for it is hard work being crazy).
after, we write about him writing about us, each trying
to make sense of the other before we’re also on our backs
under the one on his back under the open sky.
Devon Balwit lives in the Pacific Northwest. She is the author of six chapbooks and two collections. Her individual poems can be found in many journals such as: Glass: A Poetry Journal; The Inflectionist; Muse A/Journal; taplit mag; Posit; Cordite; Under a Warm Green Linden, and more.