Good Question


[W]hat on earth did you want to set him free for, seeing he was already free?

Huckleberry Finn


Well, that is a question, I must say,

answers Tom. Why? Because for any

of us, the best good act is noted. Forget

the old Biblical injunction not to let

your left hand know what the right does.

Poor Jim becomes a prop, used,

once more, to advantage. Critics call

these latter chapters weak. Twain falls

short. Yes, but still, how instructive,

Tom’s wish to return Jim upriver

in style on a steamboat and play the hero.

That Jim is not to be toyed with so

never occurs to him. Take note, ye woke—

Tempted to push forward, step back.


Devon Balwit teaches and writes in Portland, OR. She has five chapbooks out or forthcoming: How the Blessed Travel (Maverick Duck Press); Forms Most Marvelous (dancing girl press); In Front of the Elements (Grey Borders Books), Where You Were Going Never Was (Grey Borders Books); and The Bow Must Bear the Brunt (Red Flag Poetry). Her individual poems can be found in The Cincinnati Review, The Stillwater Review, Red Earth Review, The Inflectionist; Glass: A Journal of Poetry; Noble Gas Quarterly; Muse A/Journal, and more.