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Vanessa Niu: Poetry Collection




Plague


i.

Always there has been this hunger

& this need to disguise it. In the

invisible background of Van Gogh’s

Cypresses is a son reaching into the

Earth for the lack of fruit hanging

from the trees & the same hunger

stayed with Billie Holiday in the

next century, when the branches

drooped with bodies. Hidden in

the mountains of Fan Kuan more

than a millennium later is a mother,

spearing the last fish that would

make the journey upstream & the

yellowing water, gleaming iridescent

with oil. Around Marie Laurencin’s

nymphic hill is a girl wrapped into

the tongue of another, struggling to

remember when she felt whole

without the fullness of another

devout & unholy consummation.

& the world denies us our meal &

we are still shamefully hungry.


ii.

Before the tsunami the tide must

ebb. There are always the hungry

before the locusts swarm.



About the Author:


Vanessa Y. Niu is a Chinese-American poet and classical singer who lives in New York City. She has written text for the modern composition scene at Juilliard and Interlochen, and can be found at the opera house, a slam-poetry session, or attending open physics lectures when not writing

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