Franny Choi

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Franny Choi is the author of several books, including, Soft Science (Alice James Books, 2019), Floating, Brilliant, Gone (Write Bloody Publishing, 2014), and a chapbook, Death by Sex Machine (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017). She was a 2019 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellow and has also received awards from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and Princeton University’s Lewis Center. Her poems have appeared in the New York Times, the Nation, the Atlantic, Paris Review, and elsewhere. She co-hosts the Poetry Foundation’s podcast VS (it’s pronounced “verses”—get it?) alongside Danez Smith and is currently an Arthur Levitt, Jr. Artist-in-Residence at Williams College. Source

Catastrophe Is Next to Godliness

Lord, I confess I want the clarity of catastrophe but not the catastrophe.

Like everyone else, I want a storm I can dance in.

I want an excuse to change my life.

 

The day A. died, the sun was brighter than any sun.

I answered the phone, and a channel opened

between my stupid head and heaven, or what was left of it. The blankness

stared back; and I made sound after sound with my blood-wet gullet.

O unsayable—O tender and divine unsayable, I knew you then:

you line straight to the planet’s calamitous core; you moment moment moment;

you intimate abyss I called sister for a good reason.

 

When the Bad Thing happened, I saw every blade.

And every year I find out what they’ve done to us, I shed another skin.

I get closer to open air; true north.

 

Lord, if I say Bless the cold water you throw on my face,

does that make me a costume party. Am I greedy for comfort

if I ask you not to kill my friends; if I beg you to press

your heel against my throat—not enough to ruin me,

but just so—just so I can almost see your face—

Published:

2020

Length:

Regular

Literary Movements:

Contemporary

Anthology Years:

Themes:

Death & Loss

Doubt & Fear

Faith & Hope

Memory & The Past

Literary Devices:

Alliteration

the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words appearing in succession

Antithesis

a person or thing that is the direct opposite of someone or something else

Apostrophe

an exclamatory passage in a speech or poem addressed to a person (typically one who is dead or absent) or thing (typically one that is personified)

Epizeuxis

words or phrases repeated one after another in quick succession

Hyperbole

exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally

Interrupted Clause

a word group (a statement, question, or exclamation) that interrupts the flow of a sentence and is usually set off by commas, dashes, or parentheses