End Zone, Flight

End Zone, Flight

Marieken Cochius

End Zone, Flight


Devon Balwit


In Refugio, no refuge, in Esperanza, small hope—

just the dawn gong-gonging of San Antonio bells,

doves murmuring from jacaranda above street dogs

in ribby scavenge. It hurts not to pet, ignorant

as to whether my northern fondle will invite

only a bite. Inside, my not-yet-dead-father’s

death mask grimaces from a wall, diminished

as he is, shrunken like Antonin Artaud’s,

presiding post-rattle, eye sockets locking

down genius, from a hook in DF.


Each day, mother rasps open the gate

to exactly one crumpled chip-bag she kicks

down the block, crackling imprecations

on what she sees as a message to la gringa

rather than the endpoint of hunger

along the same child’s route home.

I learn to hide it in my pockets before

she protests, another of my apologies

for el Norte, like stepping from the curb

to yield the right of way to the old and young,

both of whom avoid eye contact, my eyes

cocked to cobbles, to potholes, to shit-piles

mortaring the stoops, theirs on the far horizon

of battered dignity. I inhale fumes and ochre,

maize-bronze against blue while the Parroquia lifts

rose meringue amidst hawked sombreros.


Try as I might, I never blend in. Always

addressed in English, always overtaxed—

added or subtracted in a triangulation

of allegiance by whoever’s argument

threatens to crack. Easing, the sun dips

behind the horizon. Stucco cools.

Soon come decisions—what to do

with the remains. I’ll be rewarded

for every loss from the annotated lists.

Until then, I rattle keys like a jailor,

impervious to ruin, distracted by an egret

and the urge to walk backward.

Devon Balwit writes and rewrites in the Pacific Northwest. For more of her film and book reviews, individual poems, and collections, see her website.

Marieken Cochius is a Dutch-born artist who has lived and worked in New York City since 1987, and in the Hudson Valley since 2013. With meditative, strong, and intuitive work—which often explores growth forms, movement and containment of energy—she is drawn to remote places where she studies nature and makes art inspired by it. Her work encompasses drawing, painting, sculpture, and printmaking.