Leaning out of the open window to feel 
the chill of night air breathing on your skin.  
Your chest is heavy, & the stars are being buried 
under cover of cloud as we speak. The distant sky 
is humming with oncoming rain. How soon 
this sky will break open with light, leaving you 
breathless once again. Hold onto this feeling 
as you remember the field of hibiscus flowers 
at the edge of Tutu’s corner of this island.  
Can you see them? & among them, can you see her?  
Tutu, sitting in the company of these flowers, 
her long greying hair floating down her back gently. Tutu, 
dancing around the small green kitchen as she boiled taro root, 
& when Kupuna came home from the sugar cane 
fields do you remember how they would dance together?  
Kupuna's hands resting smoothly on the small of her back, 
Tutu’s face bright & shiny & laughing, always laughing.  
& can you still hear her? Humming those old songs whose words 
you used to know so well, as she moved about that old house, 
falling apart; as she braided those blossoms of yellow & pink & orange 
into your hair on special occasions & Tuesdays. She is waiting there   
in the night sky for you, in between Orion’s belt & the Na-hiku. 

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STEPHEN M. REAUGH: "Pectus excavatum" and Other Poems

Pectus excavatum


I found my self this morning, deep sea diving

near the seafloor: coral-conquered, shipwrecked,

covered in barnacles, sea cucumber oil, writhing


around the neck of the merman on the prow: a locket?

I took it into my whale-mouth, swam to the surface.

On shore, huge human again, I took it out, looked


inside: myself, kindergartenized, non-Adonis

in miniature. The locket hung on golden chain,

the clasp cold and tough on blubberbutt hands.


I washed it off with seawater, watched it line

my fingernails with rust. I put it on anyway. But then,

beach-combing, exposed by the weight of real men's eyes,


I tripped over the long chain—

how did it grow so long?—and watched the lifelines

the chain had traced in the sand dance like paper shriveling


in the fire. Mesmerized, I sat until the wind blew the sand soft,

then swam for horizon. For home. The chain, of course,

tugged to shore. And at that slightest resistance,


I ducked my whale-head free from the chain

and watched my small self sway. The sun fell.

I glinted once, a stuttering candle,






Stephen Reaugh | grew up in western Pennsylvania, on the outskirts of the Allegheny National Forest. In 2016, he obtained an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Alabama. his creative work has appeared in Pomona Valley Review, Rabbit Catastrophe Review, and The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review. Currently, he is an M.A. student in English Literature at Villanova University.

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You pressed your palm towards me,

a force of white air smacking my face

in an exasperated sigh

which dares to whisper a name I cannot seem to shed

even in my most desperate metamorphosis


The lines of your palm 

read like a mass grave

red as the blood conjured by firing-squad sorcerers 

the soft sloping of arches that mimic

mountain peaks filled with blue ghosts-

My lost Moravia.

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