I Was a Boy / I Was a Stranger
He was a little late, and I was going
to be a moment. I unfurl ears like sails
and ride the breezes. I think I could
have been my life. I really think so,
had I not gotten bogged down
in the hum of the refrigerator, its sly
static. I don’t know anything
about anything, the frangipani
or the streaked mirror. I was so close
to you, each song spilling notes
in a pile. Even the dog knows
something is up, staring at the door.
I need to leave, but I’m not free
of the world, its fading tattoo,
its seamed scar. I stop counting.
I let the alarm sound if that’s what
it wants. I was the one who was going
to be 100, the odd piece you throw
into a drawer. I was a long time.
I promised to be so happy. This sepia.
This nostalgia. Never mind. I turn up
my collar and head out, the streetlights
pushing back shadows. I am not
a bright light. I take the edges,
give everything a shake. My mother also
did this, running her hands over
the weave to get every last
crumb. That was a big honest idea.
I put it in a safe place. One
where it can always be found.
(italics from the movie Sunspring, written by Benjamin, an AI, using LSTM Recurrent Neural Networks)
Devon Balwit writes in Portland, OR. She has five chapbooks 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); and The Bow Must Bear the Brunt (Red Flag Poetry). Her individual poems can be found in The Cincinnati Review, The Stillwater Review, Red Earth Review, The Fourth River, The Ekphrastic Review, The Inflectionist, Taplit Mag, Muse A/Journal, and more.