hungry tsunami / tsunami as galactus
the hunger of trying to hold backthe hunger a little bit longerthe hunger of restraint and pullbackchurn and growl of beached fishesin an agitated bouillabaisseliquid silver squirming on an empty shoreto lick the gilding from the buildingslike golden drizzles of caramelto take the cake / flick off the crumbsto raze the fruit / spit out the pitsthe hunger of sucked-out marrowthe unwillingly pried-open oysterthe cracked and pillaged lobster clawto shuck / to husk / to unshellher way to what’s most tenderto dismantle the protective scrimsthat signal a cache of rawnessto demolish defenseless succulencethe hunger for the liquid centersquirt of ganache in a swiss trufflechocolate lava cake’s molten fondant coreto feed past the end of greedto feast past the end of wantto gorge past the borders of voraciousnessuntil she becomes the monstrous goddessof binge / pure mercenary lackthe blooded faceblood in the waterthe blood moon’s exposed sweet throatwith its lipsticked jugular bitten clean out
Copyright © 2019 by Lee Ann Roripaugh
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Lee Ann Roripaugh is the author of five collections of poems. Her first collection, Beyond Heart Mountain, was selected by Ishmael Reed as a National Poetry Series winner. Her second, Year of the Snake, was named winner of the Association of Asian American Studies Book Award. Her third book, On the Cusp of a Dangerous Year, was lauded as “masterful” and a “gorgeous canticle” (Maura Stanton). Most recently, her fourth collection of poems, Dandarians, was described as “a work of beauty and resilience” (Srikanth Reddy). Roripaugh has received an Archibald Bush Foundation Artist Fellowship, the Frederick Manfred Award from the Western Literature Association, the Randall Jarrell International Poetry Prize, and an Academy of American Poets Prize. She serves as Editor-in-Chief of South Dakota Review and directs the creative writing program at the University of South Dakota, as well as being the state’s Poet Laureate. She resides in Vermillion.
"The elemental force of this collection will sweep readers into the churning waters of Lee Ann Roripaugh's vibrant poetic imagination. Evoking the joint disasters of a tsunami and the resulting damage to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, ghosts and the long legacy of the atomic age address us of the responsibility we each have to keenly preserve our humanity, even in the face of possible annihilation. Roripaugh's poetry insists on our ancient struggle to find meaning and even joy in the wake of loss."
—Oliver De La Paz
"The title of Lee Ann Roripaugh's tsunami vs. the fukushima 50 well evokes the gravely zany hijinks of these shapeshifting poems. Mothra, guilt-ridden Marvel beta-heroes, elderly pearl divers, and irradiated power plant workers orbit chaotically in the upheaval of the March 2011 tsunami — an upheaval that has never stopped happening. Female and fatal, the tsunami is mother, goddess, monster; she takes everything into her body until her body is revealed to be the whole sad, captivating world: 'reclining in a froth of surf, / loose hair swirling around bare / shoulders, my eyes half-closed.'"