was only dirt roads, Ag land,
took how long
to get there.
My father, hands smooth,
grew callous as he dug
moist dirt,
remembering the cracked
soil of Kalihi
and my mother,
hair drying
like limu strands
in the sun, dreamed.

They raised a ceiling
on hollow tile,
higher than any of them
had ever seen.
Insulated walls
to keep the warmth
from seeping,
and sealed
from termites
they knew would come.

They planted
Mondo grass, wild
like my sister, and
banana at the news
that my brother
would be born.
A Guava tree
for their youngest child,
in the hopes that
when the wind blew
only the breeze would break.

the roof sags
from the rain gushing
out of gutters
down the paved streets,
and termites gather
around street lamps and
anxiously land near cracks,

My father holds my mother,
years stretched
shadows across their faces
as they watch
the Mondo spread
and banana flourish,
choosing to ignore
the spoiled fruit
near the roots of a place
I know by name,
do not wish
to remember.

Talk story

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