Because Nāmakaokahaʻi killed her sister at Kaiwiopele

there is a poem forever eating
our ankles, like the eel who left
me in brackish water, bleeding
near the hill named for death.

Your ankles were left for the eel,
I imagine grandma explaining.
Kaiwiopele is a death-dealing hill.
We feed that pain as a family.

I imagine grandma explaining
how to brace against my own sister’s
bones. I’d rather starve.
Who will believe in this red, moaning cinder

if I never learn how to hold you?
If I am written as water and you as blood,
who surrenders in the poem first? 
Can we kill the poem? Kill it forever.




Copyright © 2023 by No‘u Revilla. This poem was first printed in Poetry Northwest (Winter/Spring 2023). Used with the permission of the author.