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Dylan Balise '23

I. Deficiency

The blood is pooling on level ground,

No one is to my left

Or right.

And I’m not bleeding.

I thought Isaiah would ‘bring justice for the fatherless’ yet


I’m stoned for getting by, and unless they’re here, I reply,

“Pardon my Fraud. I’d get them to do it, but—

wouldn’t the fun be over? Will the game ever end?”

Ode to the DCFS.

Whether or not they chase me down with their

pitchfork and torches / batons and Glocks I think

I’ll always be obsessed with rebuilding

the dysfunctional.

The sun never resists to keep my ruthless cycle alive,

hovering, taunting, unable to clutch me from this

pervasive hell

Of youth.


To look at my shot out here picture everything unseeable

Even gaps in the family portrait—shadowed

Hands on my shoulders.

Even the rain glazing my displaced back runs thicker than

our blood.


II. Withdrawal


The ocean’s on fire perhaps

It’s okay that I never learned

To swim. I’ll drown regardless.

John ‘will not leave you as orphans’ but I must’ve missed

the bus to jail since


Amongst the brick, I’m unchained,

I whisper, “It takes two to tank

my spirit. I need no one. did they get the memo?”

If I could scrub and rinse my DNA, I would.

Let’s throw away possibility’s sliver of something


Hope is the idiotic chance it might change.

You’ve all long been tempted to obsess over something,

well, to contort my hand, shoving it into what

you reckon I need.


But I’m stuck digging at the sod

anyways I have

No intention of burying any hatchet.

Rainy day fund’s long gone––any ways I’ve been stolen

from I pack with flesh and blood.

This doesn’t happen in your idyllic vacuum maybe

you’re all the problem,

all, of it.


III. Lethargy


The dog’s gnawing itself to death outside its

Doghouse: more of a home than I’ve ever had.

A crackhouse doesn’t count.

Peter said ‘be of sober mind’ but didn’t give them their fix

as I’m


Dousing myself in intrusive thoughts, I voice,

“I don’t mean to add fuel to

the filth of you two, but–– how about a few more?”

Take them.

Let’s have a pity party, birthdays are passé.

Not sure what’s worse: the tar of isolation in which I wade,

or the empty that suffocates me to stay afloat.

Its got me thinking to just not, but needy sanity

constantly runs through my cerebral grooves,

expecting too much.

Too much when I forget––choose––to unsmother my too

warm corpse with racing thoughts.

My surname’s still in a noose, I am

An orphan nevertheless.

Cut it, some said that I would never,

the less they feel all the more I do.

Art by Christine Wu '25

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