ISSUE ELEVEN | FALL 2018
I am killing the last of the chickens
when my daughter returns home
She cringes at the sight,
a sickle in my hand
feathers and blood everywhere
the innards in a cast iron pot.
I grab this hen’s feet, dip her
in the hot water three times.
I give her to my daughter who
rips off the feathers in fistfuls.
I ask her again to move with me
to Hawaii, but she declines. Good daughters
do not refuse their fathers,
but she knows I need to go alone
to fight with my demons.
She grabs my bloody hand,
leads me out to the little river
bordering our home. We look up at
Orohena, our mountain,
adorned with gardenia.
It is now thirty years ago,
a newly ordained minister
when my wife and I step lightly
on the crooked paths
at the base of the mountain
that winds to Maroto.
We pick the tiny flowers, inhale
the scent at Mara'a.
Our eyes close at the sensation,
a garland is placed on our shoulders,
leaves that tickle our eyelashes.
I arch my back from the weight,
our love, forever, Orohena.
At my farewell dinner,
my lei of gardenia tears when
I hide under the red tablecloth.
Mike is nowhere to be found
when the gorgeous dancers
come to get us, but
Ernie and I match the dancers' movements
shake after shake.
I offer "Matangi," a song for my homeland
about a wind
that carries our desires to
the one we love.
The wind hears, joins us,
our voices for the short ride
to Fa'a'a Airport.
I feel the throbbing of the night ocean,
she exhales puffs of sea mist onto me
in the airport terminal.
My back straightens.
I walk toward the plane.
Each step sturdy,
faster, until I am a different man
even my shadow
disappears in the light
from the fluorescent bulbs.
Kimo Armitage is currently working on his first collection of poems, These Shackles Fit Perfectly. These poems are inspired by internally and externally generated narratives of the Pacific and explore our willingness to remain manacled to people, places, and ideologies, including false histories.
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