POETRY: for Otoniya Okot Bitek


forgetting’s solidarity
is the body remembering

to tie a knot along the polyvagal rivers
of histories some share

witness the body work
of witnessing – a body of work

the collaboration of forms
          collaboration of the senses

beneath parabolic time
is the space of non-linear time            

one shares a photograph
and counts down the 100 days

reflection’s strength tying
                        is body work

city heartbeat and footnote rhythms
walking water’s audible syntax                 

in the rain when the ground at dew / due
/ dawn recognizes their kin


Isabella Wang is the author of the chapbook, On Forgetting a Language (2019), and the debut poetry collection, Pebble Swing (2021). Among other recognitions, she has been shortlisted for Arc Poetry Magazine’s Poem of the Year Award, The Malahat Review’s Far Horizons Contest and Long Poem Contest, and was the youngest writer to be shortlisted twice for The New Quarterly’s Edna Staebler Essay Contest. Her poetry and prose have appeared in over thirty literary journals and three anthologies. She is pursuing a double-major in English and World Literature at Simon Fraser University, and is an Editor at Room magazine.

This poem was shared during the writing workshop series, Shifting Perspectives with Stephen Collis and Isabella Wang, which was organized alongside the exhibition The view from here: Selections from the SFU Art Collectionand is in response to the installation un/settled, a collaboration between poet Otoniya J. Okot Bitek and artist Chantal Gibson.