Into the Wild

I know all your stories Maori dancer
they are mine too. How you
were born of the sky but carry fire,
the waka you ride with brother whale just below

I know what you hunt,
how bristles on the skin are boiled off
the soft flesh that will be enjoyed tonight

I also know your animal eye
wants the marking of this woman,
a distant child of Kahiki too.

Beyond my pale skin far past these
brown eyes, into the wild, you can hear it

my mother’s blood coursing through
my heart’s chambers pulsing
mo’o women, maile leaves, flashes
of dark teeth more savage than you or I

You ask, “Do you know the dance?“

Not in Maori, my love, but in Hawaiian-
kawelu, lele, kuʻi, and feet turn
on the pounding of an ipuheke.
My feet have always known,
they are closest to our ancestors.
My body has no choice but to follow

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