she knows where
the river winds itself around the cliffs,
where the snakes polish their lungs
in bile, where the darkness multiplies
in sleepless schools of fish
On the bottom
holds my face.
And a cloud in the shape of a sister. This womb
emptied of promise. That brief waking moment love
has no synonym.
I scramble for memory of space—
hippocampus dialed in and dialed back—receding,
swallowing whole boroughs,
reducing whole moods to neighborhoods.
Soak figs in wine.
Eat—on a white tablecloth—a debt of salt
(pickles, olives, smoked fish, and capers).
would I write with those letters? What
(portrait on what wall?)
I never forgot. Our home, too, would be riddled
with moth dust and carpet beetles, dried pipefish,
bones waiting to be articulated and identifiable.
She’s much too young to understand our connection to Hawaii,
the heritage we’re tied to by marriage
and the bonds of ohana