Truncated – Devon Balwit

(after René Magritte)

Headless, they comfort each other.
             The waves, breaking behind,
voice low consolation.
             The wind supplies the pat
of hands, missing at the wrist.
             White clad sisters of mercy,
they bear bedpans and soiled bandages,
             tipping necks towards
suffering, filling themselves
             then vomiting into the sea.

Headless, they comfort each other,
             scudding clouds
dappling shoulders before gusting away.
             Their no-hands scribe
bitter complaint, twin virgins, caged
             until safely wed.
They press their trunks
             together in the night,
craving the frantic
             of their split heart.

Headless, they comfort each other,
             setting joint upon joint,
like mortared stone. Salt breezes
             whistle through sleeves
that flutter their passing.
             Anchorites, they pray—
prayers that clack
             with skeletal music and
prayers lost to waves.
             The wrack line never empties.

devon balwitDevon Balwit teaches in Portland, OR. She has six chapbooks and two collections out or forthcoming: How the Blessed Travel (Maverick Duck Press); Forms Most Marvelous (dancing girl press); In Front of the Elements (Grey Borders Books), Where You Were Going Never Was (Grey Borders Books); The Bow Must Bear the Brunt (Red Flag Poetry); We are Procession, Seismograph (Nixes Mate Books), Risk Being/ Complicated (with the Canadian artist Lorette C. Luzajic), and Motes at Play in the Halls of Light (Kelsay Books). Her individual poems can be found here as well as in Muse A/Journal, Cordite, The Cincinnati Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Fifth Wednesday, Red Earth Review, The Fourth River, The Free State Review, Posit, The Inflectionist Review, and more.