What Is True Is Seen From a Distance
In a different place a boy is throwing stones
from the shore of a lake. He cannot see us
watching him. We are cities & countries
& years away. He does not know you
& I have put our books down to learn
we will not always be spared.
There are still frontiers. He does not know
the surface of the lake is a frontier
that survives how his stones strike it,
how two swans swim across. Like a dowser
wandering in search of water unmapped
& underground, I have made my crossings
to reach you. He doesn’t know that either.
At one border, I was asked if I had any family
or friends living in the country. At another,
the guards asked me if I had ever lied.
You & I stood on another shore & looked
out to see the ducks quarreling,
to see how the swans write
an invisible script. Our time is spare.
We are a stone’s arcing flight, doubled
a moment in the water, disappearing
just as we seem to meet. The boy aims
& finally strikes one of the swans,
snapping something in that willowy trunk.
It dies slowly, & the boy is made to watch.
Jeremy Allan Hawkins has been the recipient of a grant from the U.S. Fulbright Program and a teaching fellowship from the Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project. His poetry has appeared in numerous journals and was selected for the Best New Poets 2016 anthology. He is the author of A Clean Edge, selected by Richard Siken as the winner of the 2016 BOAAT Chapbook Prize and is forthcoming in 2017. He lives in France.
Canadian artist Clive Holden was born on Vancouver Island. He lives in Toronto with his wife, the novelist Alissa York. Holden’s generative (software-based) artworks, chromogenic prints, videos, and films have been exhibited or screened at: Anthology Film Archives (New York), Kino Arsenal (Berlin), the Muziekgebouw (Amsterdam), the Gardiner Museum/CONTACT Festival (Toronto), Light Industry (Brooklyn), the Ryerson Image Centre (Toronto), the London International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, transmediale (Berlin), the Foreman Art Gallery of Bishops University (Sherbrooke), Images Festival (Toronto), the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Art Gallery of Mississauga, and the European Media Art Festival (Osnabrück).