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Columbia University, ’19
2015 Adroit Prize for Poetry: Editors List


I do not meet him
in a dream. We are wading
in some kind of rivulet.

& we cant leave
even if we
want to run off

for awhile    only to come
back. I ask the boy
why he refuses to swim

or if he has ever thought,
when tired, to swallow
forever what stops

our imagining the field:
not water
itself but current –

or a broken clock
hung on a swirling cliff
too far behind me to see.


His eyes give him away.
The boy believes he has
swallowed not current

(or clock) but the thriving
field we cant
even dream.

He is wrong,
there are
no more

of harvest here;
here is sick

& weeping. I
tell him this
until I am spinning

within him, lifting
away the glassy
folds of his stomach.


Angry at the familiar
emptiness of him I leave
like a haunting – or like wind

from a fan. I wade
again   alone now
& the current (not a clock now)

speaks nonsense.
Why do
I hear

the current speak if I
have never heard it before?
But the current

does not speak. You –
you are speaking
and boy and rivulet,

one, are sprawled
out as my body over a blank
or blooming field.


You are speaking.
Soon   soon nobody
will be

speaking loud enough

Safwan Khatib is from Indianapolis, Indiana. His poetry, prose, dramatic scripts, and academic research have been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the Indiana Repertory Theater Young Playwrights Competition, and the MIT Inspire Humanities Competition, among others. He was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2014, and will be moving to New York in the fall.