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a child’s fable

a child’s fable was written at the Banff Centre during the In(ter)ventions: Literary Practice at the Edge residency in February, 2013. It was printed on an inkjet printer and hand stitched, in an edition of 30, once I returned home.

In the bookwork I explained a bit about the process, of it coming into being, with the following text:

a child’s fable:  Wednesday night, February 13th, 2013. Searching online. Wondering if there was any new information about the sinking island in Chesapeake Bay. I found an article from The Washington Post. At the end of reading, I glanced up at a photograph I brought with me, here to Banff, slipped between other images. A photograph taken on the morning of October 25th, 2010. I looked closely, then realized that the two articles were the same. The text at least. Only the images were different and the form of delivery, shifting my experience. One inked on newsprint and one online. That night returned me to island. It moved me to work with those words (in the original article written by The Washington Post staff writer David Fahrenthold) and their order of appearance. While a child’s fable is not about the island in that article specifically, this poem came to the page from a night in those waters.

There are fourteen tellings of a child’s fable in this bookwork. I thought I’d share a couple of them here on the website.


a child’s fable
seemed to emerge from the water
cracked at the spine

a tale
of rising oceans
now threatening the islands
themselves abandoned
eroded past
protecting the failed

everything beginning
with inhabitants’ luck
rising in the bulges
created by glaciers
Now slowly
a ragged line
reassembled offshore
the place became an obsession
stumbled upon
a recalled voice
breaking memory

a ghostly outline of a girl
trying to save the island by hand
wasn’t enough
waves rolled last winter
pushed held out hope
in a near-deadly drop
a struggle
still vulnerable
standing against water
damage obvious
broken in the wind
evidence half-submerged
it hit me

a sad end of an era
just a few inches above
the waves


an obsession
stumbled upon
a ghostly outline of chance
remaining pieces
though shorter
standing out
against the obvious

the unsteady question


an isolated section
of water
of erased tide
protecting the failed
Historians say
a team traveled to luck
scientists say
some reason
has created a see-saw sinking

These two factors
eroding the reading


strange spine of ocean
the last structure

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If you are interested in reading the Fahrenthold article in The Washington Post, you can go to the following link. Although there on their website, it says the story was from Tuesday, October 26th, I read it in Monday morning’s paper on October 25th, 2010. So this date on their website must refer to the date they posted it online (or perhaps it’s simply an error that someone has overlooked).

Many thanks to The Banff Centre and their Literary Arts Program and to all those who were a part of the Interventions: Literary Practice at the Edge residency.

(May 28th, 2013)

*   *   *

I’ve started to do a second run of this bookwork and today the first copies have been printed and hand bound. This 2nd printing will also be an edition of 30 copies.

(Friday, January 24th, 2014)

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