The years between 17 and 33 disappeared,
self-censored in my own Cultural Revolution,
a purge arising from three-a.m. anguish
before a year abroad, the journals carted
by backpack to dumpster, load after load,
whitewashing history, (for what if I died,
and mother read them?). Gone, safe
words, gone labrys, gone, proselytizing,
gone psychedelics, gone self-harm, leaving
a lacuna in which white swans swim, gazing
at their own reflection, for of course I lived
and live on, past reclaimed like Dutch polder,
a marvel of engineering, but unnatural no matter
the craft, people and times distorted, no middle
ground, no subtlety. What wouldn’t I give
to reach in and haul out the dog-eared truth,
whole, like Mandela, back into ordinary time,
able to peer at all of me—embarrassment
cheek by jowl with insight, as on a bus,
dominatrix by nun, junky by straight-edge.
All I have are fields, where, when hard
rains come, sometimes bones poke through.
Devon Balwit is a teacher/poet from Portland, OR. She has two chapbooks: how the blessed travel (Maverick Duck Press) & Forms Most Marvelous (forthcoming with dancing girl press). Her work has found many homes, some of which are: The Inflectionist Review, The Cincinnati Review, The Stillwater Review, Sierra Nevada Review, Red Earth Review, Timberline Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry.