Tammy Robacker



Your quiet breaks me apart like whitecaps
collapse before coursing a shore. The water
that eddies you floats a shapeless gray
around this bay, over this day; ebbing
grief in the horizon’s haze. Here,
where your timber boom went bust,
now you just rust craggy stumps
along an emptied dock and austere pier.

You hang an ash-splashed canvas for miles
at this beach. A comber cannot read
where stone cold sky meets gun metal sea,
as they bumble down your one dead,
bone-jumbled jetty finger anchored
by blanched boulders and uprooted trees.

The rotund tourists straggle in and wag
tongues stuck full of green salt water
taffy and old fashion donuts. Their throats
close shut around pulpy oyster shooters
quaffed starboard off spitting bottomfish
charters rented out on the cheap.

The world ends here. Where longitude crosses itself
with latitude to no absolution. Where waves genuflect
then crumble rather than crash. The sand
dollars you’ve strewn townside are cracked
to halves. Their lost flock of peace doves,
once housed in a holy shell hollow, now worthless
debris to those who divine the beachhead.

Here your gulls swoon restless and hover
above the sea’s ennui. They dip and drone
mid-air: Scavengers perpetually hung
there—aimless and leering. They swing
back and forth, steering ghost-shaped waves
in the grimy brine sky above your grave.


Winner of a Hedgebrook writer-in-residence award in 2011, and awarded the 2010-2011 Poet Laureate of Tacoma title, Tammy Robacker promotes the art of poetry in the South Sound community by writing, teaching and guest speaking locally. In 2009, she was the recipient of a TAIP grant award and published her first book of poetry, The Vicissitudes. In addition, she co-edited a Tacoma poetry anthology, with former Poet Laureate of Tacoma, Bill Kupinse, titled: In Tahoma’s Shadow: Poems from the City of Destiny. Ms. Robacker studied Creative Writing and Poetry at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA and graduated with a B.A. degree. Now, actively involved in Washington State’s South Sound as a poet, a freelance writer, and a volunteer, Robacker also serves as secretary of the board for Puget Sound Poetry Connection.

Tammy’s poetry has appeared in Columbia Magazine, Plazm, Floating Bridge Review: Pontoon, Wild Goose Poetry Review, Word Salad, Pens on Fire, and the Allegheny Review. Ms. Robacker’s poetry manuscript, We Ate Our Mothers, Girls, was selected as a finalist in the 2009 Floating Bridge Press chapbook contest in Seattle, WA. Tammy Robacker runs her own freelance writing company called, Pearle Publications. Her editorials have appeared in SHOWCASE Magazine, CITY ARTS Magazine, and the Weekly Volcano.

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