It was a textbook word few people knew,
Curls of raw fish a patterned platter holds?
A waddling wrestler, draped with glistening folds?
A crisp wave, in a print? Listen. Tsu, tsu.

A college student, as the shocks died down
Turned to his shaken family and said
"This is only the start-" For he had read
The wave would come. "We must find higher ground".

From there they saw the beach hotels sweep past
The children clinging broken to a tree
The jeweller's shop go glittering to sea.
Wave sank to mud, left nothing as it was.

Like eager children, thrusting coin (one note)
In the black checkout pail, the people pass
Money to dark, tsu, tsu, salt bubbling grass,
One mugful of clear water fills the throat.

Alison Brackenbury

If you've any comments about this poem, Alison Brackenbury would be pleased to hear from you.