Poems by Dot Devota

F R O M A M E A D O W A S Y L U M T H I R T Y L A R K S R E I G N I L L


To those who say NO to dark nests burdening the branch

breaking silence casting characters for debt

shaken from its branch homeless having a home among nothing

to hunt down the crime location cerebral


classmates from our past we create from them new face in no singular light

where does the end of daybreak go?

repetition become new repetition

poets belong to re-opened wounds and lost collectivity

inhaling spores and hacking up mucus a weekly sweepstakes


what is mine or abandonment of old?

death what kind madness what kind

sent to us look alikes for familiar transaction

from structure of turnips why cling to cream flesh and water it so self-sabotagingly

numb awe from encountering the basis of which earthly life unsprings!

not to produce beautifula and enviabula work in attention to the self


It poses a question dropped from unknown heights

prominent coda to more fully break forms

propagate the super- through supra- my supper beneath rotting candlelight

vocation charred on spits our lungs are split bearing seaman’s pearls

a child yells no screaming!

says but I don’t want the door open then escapes through it


I’m sensitive to children’s tongues their surfaces a breathable elastic

to-be jurors shaking the bars opens the fall on the piano

exposing bones of music how resources provide

for us all so terribly! to do without would be

plenty silent conversation





I F O U N D M Y C A L L I N G


I looked into the walls saw the gorilla mother’s fingerprints

coffin tightly sealed leaked the non-light of ineffable cause I lost my voice

sent the berries to ripen in solitude

rolled when stuck with a needle retaliatory jams the breeze and its genitals


I peeled back paint of course shitty construction

the environment in its smallest units

microbes and atoms make eventual flares non-wreckage of positive wreckage

more renewable gutterly speaking the curse dipped in the inkwell tipped the coffin

rearranging letters it spilled and fascinated I made no move to dissolve

but observed the actual dimension soak itself and slither away

knowing another moved counter-intuitively


Not to search for the invisibles I feel its hands wound tightly around my neck

have I encouraged pleasure? I found my calling

writhing in the just-as-slack condition of its body

passing mile markers the ebullient timed doors double-jointed

oven timers of lunacy sped up surveillance tapes

I found I could expedite the crime and she is no belly dancer

the world salivates thinking of her there is no other parent for us

cutting diamonds to wear the jungle from urge


I found my calling disbanding high horse armies

to instill a set of values I have been its disgruntled employee

mocking my genders my love in octagonal tents laying on storied rugs

forcing consistency through performance disguising the hook as upright enhancement

no wonder I forget simple descriptions getting lost in the image now a difficult present

an owl screeching in my hand confines me


I am already taking on too much responsibility if I took a day off

a contortionist locating missing bones I point with limp finger

the sick have a healthier outlook

as a child with access to sick teachers now I trip the wire


Dot Devota (b. St. Louis, Missouri) writes poems and essays about pre-sickness, sensations in the phenomenon of “falling ill,” and post-viral, chronic and mysterious illness in individual, societal, and environmental body-scapes. Her books include The Division of Labor (Rescue Press), And The Girls Worried Terribly (Noemi Press), The Eternal Wall (Book*hug), Dept. of Posthumous Letters (Argos Books), and PMS (forthcoming from Rescue Press). Excerpts from her nonfiction novel, MW: A Field Guide to the Midwest, are published in PEN America andDenver Quarterly, among other places. Her recent manuscript >SHE is a work of autoimmunefiction. Her pandemic essay “Quarantine Notebooks: A Rhetorical Analysis” was commissioned by The Coffee House Writers Project. Devota’s Wall Poems are large-scale calligraphic installations/ interventions that have exhibited nationally at art museums and galleries. She has given readings in Syria, Lebanon, Japan, Taiwan, and throughout Europe and North America.

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