Little Joe Gould #5 by Devon Balwit

he was a bum, but he spoke the language of seagulls. when he flapped his arms and gave their lost-child shriek, your beer foam turned to surf and ebbed and flowed in your glass. he would cadge a cigarette, puffing with one hand, the other still a wing, rising and falling in the wind of his breath. finally, the gulls would settle in their rookery, and he’d become once more just a man, a garrulous flop house ragbag, telling you everything that hadn’t happened, that day or any other. you could only nod your head and nod your head, dropping coin after coin into his palm, coins that became the booze that oiled his throat, the words welling and welling, like waves around the crags where the gulls slept, heads tucked under their invisible wings.

Devon Balwit is a poet and educator from Portland, Oregon. She has a chapbook, Forms Most Marvelous, forthcoming from dancing girl press (summer 2017). Her recent poems can be found in: Oyez, The Cincinnati Review, Red Paint Hill, The Ekphrastic Review, Noble Gas Quarterly, Timberline Review, Trailhead Magazine, Vector, and Permafrost.