This morning I didn’t even honi you when I came in.
I just walked right by your shallow breath,
your eyes shut in the living room, and that bed
stuffed with pulu. And all the blurred words
projecting onto the backs of your eyelids.
Ke alanui maʻawe ‘ula a Kanaloa…
I organize your prescription bottles like kiʻi
along the edges of the kitchen heiau
and try to remember how long it’s been
since you strung a sentence together
and draped it over my shoulders.
I grew up mountain view and I can always see
mauna kea and mauna loa same time
In the afternoon I thicken your drinking water,
obsessing on what you’ll want for the road, and pack
some paʻi ʻai a me ka iʻa. Bundled guesswork
disguised as intention once the oceans open up.
I keep a version of you in my pocket that asks,
Maybe this red road is not mine, but ours, Boy?
So make some food for you, too.
In the evening I sit you up and our eyes trace the octopus’s
footprints moonlit in the yard grass. You smile
and gulp the thick water, and I keep obsessing
about which muʻumuʻu you’ll want to wear in the waʻa.
Copyright © 2022 by Donovan Kūhiō Colleps. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 18, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.
The cry of the cicada
Gives us no sign
That presently it will die.
—Translation by William George Aston
This poem is in the public domain.
with some help from Ahmad
I wanna write lyrical, but all I got is magical.
My book needs a poem talkin bout I remember when
Something more autobiographical
Mi familia wanted to assimilate, nothing radical,
Each month was a struggle to pay our rent
With food stamps, so dust collects on the magical.
Each month it got a little less civil
Isolation is a learned defense
When all you wanna do is write lyrical.
None of us escaped being a criminal
Of the state, institutionalized when
They found out all we had was magical.
White room is white room, it’s all statistical—
Our calendars were divided by Sundays spent
In visiting hours. Cold metal chairs deny the lyrical.
I keep my genes in the sharp light of the celestial.
My history writes itself in sheets across my veins.
My parents believed in prayer, I believed in magical
Well, at least I believed in curses, biblical
Or not, I believed in sharp fists,
Beat myself into lyrical.
But we were each born into this, anger so cosmical
Or so I thought, I wore ten chokers and a chain
Couldn’t see any significance, anger is magical.
Fists to scissors to drugs to pills to fists again
Did you know a poem can be both mythical and archeological?
I ignore the cataphysical, and I anoint my own clavicle.
Copyright © 2021 by Suzi F. Garcia. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 28, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.
Thump-thump, thump-thump bare feet hitting the grass as I run run run in the air and like the air weaving through the trees skimming over the ground touching down thump-thump, thump-thump here and there there and here in the soft damp grass thump-thump, thump-thump knowing I could fly fly fly but letting my feet thump-thump, thump-thump touch the earth at least for now. . .
From Heartbeat by Sharon Creech. Copyright © 2004 by Sharon Creech. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers. No part of this book may be used or repoduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019. All rights reserved.