Because of you, Lani

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© Frances Cresantia Koya 

29 June, 2017

 

White sea birds call us to silence

And the sea reaches down into the starless skies of Pulotu

Her large seamless arms throwing fish upwards into gentle rain 

 

Grief covers us thick and heavy 

In shades of black and purple

 

As a bird soars in the night sky

Singing sweetly 

A song 

That only the soul knows

 

But, I can hear you laughing

The lines on your face 

Etched into memory

The soft grace of your hands

Strong black markings on your thighs 

Tell the story of your genealogy 

 

I see again 

Thousands of children dancing in a large field

An ocean of shadows and light 

Only you, could dream in such magnitude 

 

Under the mango tree

We shared our plans in hushed tones, in whispers and giggles

For fear the winds would carry them 

Away to listening ears

 

Notebooks and phrases by the beach

Your easy smile 

Despite looming deadlines

 

I awake to Kerby the dog, snoring right by my window

And one dark night, an invisible bird’s kiss

The ancestors, you said

A blessing

 

At Piula, you soaked your tired limbs

Too many late nights, we agreed 

Just so much work that still needs to be done in our small islands

So much left to do

So many conversations about Tautua

And the weight of Vā tapuia

 

Because of you, 

We wove dreams into poems

Chants into songs

Into dance

Into fire

 

Feathers, red as sky 

Flitter like silhouetted shadows hanging in fringes at the water’s edge 

As you learned to chant the ancestors’ songs

We are only as strong as our connection to the earth beneath our feet, you said

But keep your head in the clouds

And never stop dreaming 

 

Tears fall as the sharp edges and soft lines 

Of your choreography 

Stings my eyes

And centipedes pinch at my fingers

 

There’s a fire inside, Lani

Calling us to dance 

Aue, Mafana hurts

So much without you

 

I wait for words to flow off the tongue 

To drip in rhyme and meter or verse

To dance off the bark of trees

Like red feathers in the moonlight 

Or fish that swim in shallows to greet me

 

Strong black markings on your thighs tell the stories of your genealogy 

The soft grace of your hands

The lines on your face etched into memory

But, I can hear you laughing

 

As a bird soars in the night sky

Singing sweetly 

A song 

That only the soul knows

 

Grief covers us thick and heavy, Lani 

In shades of black and purple

 

The sea reaches down into the starless skies of Pulotu

Her large seamless arms throwing fish upwards into gentle rain 

And white sea birds call us to silence

White sea birds call us to silence

Because of you, Lani

Because of you.

 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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