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You might say that a clod washed away diminishes the whole, the contours of the land effaced by saintly patience of the tide, which knows that in time its tiny …

Investigation tape that reads "Do not cross" is tangled up in a ball
Illustration by Selena Wong

You might say that a clod washed away
diminishes the whole, the contours
of the land effaced by saintly
patience of the tide, which knows
that in time its tiny contributions
add up to subtract from the shore,
but this has all been said before,
and better, long ago. Carping on
about it like the bloody-minded sea
that drags its weight back and forth
across the beach stones—madwoman
at a washboard trying to scrub
away the stain of what she’s done—
won’t change the fact that it’s easier
to turn your back on everyone.

Show me bloated bellies on the television,
dead children in their mothers’ arms,
bomb blasts making burnt-on
crusts of people, and I will weep
a rainy season, clench my fists
until the nails leave lifeline sickles,
but otherwise do nothing.
I lack conviction. I am content
to have my outraged moment, then sink
into the comfort of an armchair
that won’t protest when I protest
against the state of a continent
worn down by indifference.

Despite this slow erosion
of my sense of self
as a moral being, I am happy
paying for the services I’m given.
My rooms are lit electrically;
my rooms are heated.
And in the middle of a heated moment,
arguing with my wife over bills,
over money to pay for all the luxury,
I think: It’s nice to have the luxury
of fighting over debts. So I find myself
indebted to people I have never met,
those murdered by my radio
while I drive the kids to school.
I kill the volume so they won’t know
how much I owe the world,
or turn the dial to crashing waves
that wash away the dead.

This appeared in the July/August 2014 issue.

Mark Callanan
Mark Callanan recently released Gift Horse, a new poetry collection.
Sous Sous
Sous Sous (selenawong.com) earned a gold National Magazine Award in 2012 for her work in The Walrus.

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Jennifer Hollett I have been digging into the pages of The Walrus Summer Reading issue and remarking at all of the contributions from our former and current Fellows. It reminds me that every issue of The Walrus is a result of a culmination of efforts (including lengthy fact-checking) from the editorial team, the emerging journalists they train, and the generous supporters who make all of this happen.

Through The Walrus Editorial Fellowship Program, we have the privilege of training the next generation of professionals who are passionate about the integrity of journalism. In the Summer Reading issue, 2021 Cannonbury Fellow Connor Garel wrote a piece on Frankie Perez and the art of breaking. Tajja Isen contributed an excerpt from her first book, Some of my Best Friends. Isen, who also began her career at The Walrus as a Cannonbury Fellow, is currently Editor-in-Chief at Catapult magazine.

Our 2022 Chawkers Fellow, Mashal Butt, was instrumental in making sure we got the facts straight in our Summer Reading issue, having fact-checked six features, including Sarah Totton’s short story “The Click.” And, you can look forward to a cover story on housing affordability by our 2022 Justice Fund Writer in Residence, JS Rutgers. (Rutgers is now a climate reporter for The Narwhal.)

Donations of any amount (great or small) mean that we can keep on training future journalists in the rigorous practice of fact-checking and editing. With your support, we can continue to keep The Walrus available to readers everywhere as well as help foster the next generation of reporters, copy-editors, fact-checkers, and editors.

With gratitude,

Jennifer Hollett
Executive Director, The Walrus