SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Season Three Disappoints

The handmaid will do anything for her child—
Reductive, this mother-love above all others.
I, who have mothered, know other hungers.

She stays long after she has the chance to go—
Reductive, this mother-love above all others.
I’d have chosen books over the lost child.

No job, mate, friend until the stolen daughter’s gotten—
Reductive, this mother-love above all others.
I’d have left her to be a different kind of person.

Though daughter cells reside inside her, she chooses—
reductive—this mother-love above all others.
Like mine, her biome’s vaster, a hundred fastnesses.

She glares daggers but grabs the gallows-rope—
Reductive, this mother-love above all others.
I’d not cost lives, just spend my own.

I feel bullied to look longingly at children—
reductive—this mother-love above all others.
I’d pick, instead, the icy swim across the border.


Devon Balwit teaches in the Pacific Northwest. Her most recent collection is titled A Brief Way to Identify a Body (Ursus Americanus Press). Her individual poems can be found here at SWWIM Every Day as well as in The Worcester Review, The Cincinnati Review, Tampa Review, Apt (long-form issue), Tule Review, Grist, Rattle, and O:JAL, among others. For more, see https://pelapdx.wixsite.com/devonbalwitpoet.

Commitment