Memento Mori by Devon Balwit

Dimitry Vorsin.jpg

[Poem by Devon Balwit, Art by Dimitry Vorsin]

Memento Mori

Pain’s bastinado blanches,
makes a death’s head
of me, a grimace set
teetering on cervical spine.
In answer to students’
questions, I swivel like
a submarine spyglass
peering out at youth
from disphotic dusk.
Today’s theme
is courtship, flings,
flirting, friends with
benefits. To them
such talk from the
rictus of my mouth
must be as if a crone
pushed aside monitor
cables and IV tubes
to lifted her gown,
on a scrollwork
of varicose, crepe,
and snowy pubes.
As they talk amongst
themselves, I massage
my scapula, tilt my
jaw, trying to dislodge
by fractions the grip
of the grave. I do it, gloss
reciprocal, be attracted
to, crush, be my type,
waiting for one among
them to say “Teacher,
I am attracted to brainy,
once-beautiful women,
now in a state of
physical decline, but
with such lascivious
vocabulary. You are
my type, my unrequited
crush.” One does not.
I exhale, swivel this way
and that, watching,
discretely, the clock.

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