Published on Academy of American Poets (

understory (week 35)

“she’s kicking”
nālani says 
holds my
hands against
her belly 
so warm! 
chicken broth
boils in
the crockpot
bones turn
in briny 
kicks again
can she
feel my
body heat? 
magma rises
water into
drill, turbine
Mauna Loa
grid, undersea
geothermal safe? 
baby’s so 
active tonight 
nālani presses
my palms
deeper into
this skin
drum e
Pele e


Copyright @ 2014 by Craig Santos Perez. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on July 22, 2014.

About this Poem

“This poem is an excerpt from a weekly series of poems I wrote during my wife’s pregnancy. The title, ‘understory,’ refers to plants and young trees that grow beneath the main canopy of a jungle or forest.”

—Craig Santos Perez


Craig Santos Perez

Craig Santos Perez, a native Chamorro from Mongmong, Guam, writes about themes such as Pacific life, immigration, ancestry, colonialism, and diaspora.

Date Published: 2014-07-22

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