Poetry: Field Notes by Gabriella Balza

In this surreal, fabulist poem, the speaker in Gabriella Balza’s “FIELD NOTES” watches as her home transforms, “slow and shapeless.” Left to wander among the bare trees, in a bizarre unraveling of events, the speaker begins to realize that while chaos reigns, the mind is its own dark cavern.



i imagine how
it first happened:
her mind waking
one night, realizing
it was no longer
in the right house.
the room moving
underwater, slow
and shapeless.
her mind guiding
her hands to its
gauzy rupture, how
she sat there, gutted
blubbering like
a born again child
stringing dull jellyfish
nerves in its place.
her brain a flickering,
dying universe where
night is a man cloaked,
waiting. she tells me
how he turns cages
into windows.
dares me to open
the latch, scratch
the sky, watch
stars peel back, reveal
plaster, holes chewed
out. she goes for walks
and witnesses trees
robbed till they’re bare,
bent. i confess
i didn’t know then
that madness sometimes
chooses us, how i used to
place nooses on the branches
for her. once, i held her
neck, tried to bend it
to water. i too believed
that every dark thing
deserved cruelty but
my first memory
of sun was it leaking
through her. maybe
it is this that made her
go mad, maybe it is
that the man who made
her flightless also gave
her sky, how in a place
like this, the mind is
a marshland we must trek
barefoot and blind.



Gabriella Balza

Gabriella Balza is originally from Venezuela and South Florida and currently resides in the Midwest where she is an MFA candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has poems published and forthcoming in Waxwing, River Styx and The Colorado Review.  

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