“Helicopters over Portland” by Devon Balwit

Devon Balwit


Last night, helicopters churned overhead.
My husband shook me awake to listen.
The rotors chuffed disaster, bodies that bled,
but in the morning, we found no trace of them

as if we had summoned them from old age,
the fear that everything we love is slipping.
I got the paper, scanned each page
for threat, but there was only menace dripping.

Outside was fading Spring beauty, the few
birds left, the late rhododendrons,
the neighbor’s roses. So although it’s true
the helicopters unsettled, what won

was dailiness, those small pleasures that lull
us and make diminishing cups seem full.

from Poets Respond
June 2, 2019


Devon Balwit: “Recently, my daughter visited and said she couldn’t sleep due to the sound of helicopters overhead all night. We were mystified. Last night, we were woken up to the same sound—not a small news helicopter or an emergency copter, but the large army copters I remember from my time in SoCal living near military bases. However, the internet/newspaper couldn’t enlighten me as to what they were doing or even whether they had been there at all. Like so much in life, there’s a background of menace, but the foreground is our comfortable habit and the beauty of whatever season.” (web)

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