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Our poetry editor, Joe Pan, has selected two poems by Christopher Bolin for his series that brings original poetry to the screens of Hyperallergic readers.

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David Hartt, “Interval I” (2014), currently on view in ‘David Hartt: Interval’ at the Art Institute of Chicago (© David Hartt, courtesy Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago, and David Nolan Gallery, New York)

Litany

I.

The sea-floor volcanoes fusing trash
as it passes

into archipelagoes

where the birds adapt—

to isolated patterns of themselves or oscillated patterns
of the windblown trash—and to the sealed bottles

distilling water from themselves—and to
raising young

in swales

of Easter grass;

II.

the bird-

traps of lost fishermen
made of ballast stones

in the weeks before a bird appears

when they traced the stones

with light from signal mirrors
and pictured birds’ bones

highest
in the fossil seams.

Badlands II

A train traveling West
has flies against its Eastern walls

and you will feel them when you go to pray; or

you will stand here, as it passes: where the open doors
of the empty cars

are frames in a film about hunger; and the oil-

spill crews
will salvage what they can

with siphons

and test the water by bleeding reeds

in widening arcs
until they reach you and you

ask them about the oil-fields and they do not respond
when you tell them the story

they think is about your mother

weaving cardinals into cloth
whenever wool is stained by blood.

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Christopher Bolin teaches at the College of St. Benedict / St. John’s University (MN) and the low-residency program at the Center for Narrative Practice (MA). His collection of poems, Ascension Theory, was published by the University of Iowa Press and named a finalist for the Foreword Reviews “Book of the Year Award.” Christopher is the founder of the literary and arts magazine, Resistance Journal.

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Joe Pan

Joe Pan grew up along the Space Coast of Florida and attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His debut poetry book, Autobiomythography & Gallery, was named “Best First Book of the Year”...