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.
Michelle DeLouise-Ashmore | is a Native Hawaiian poet living in Arkansas, where she is working on her degree in Creative Writing at Hendrix College. Her work has been published in Rookie Mag, Rising Phoenix Review, The Olive Press, and Clementine Unbound. She is the Nonfiction Editor for Hendrix College's literary magazine, The Aonian. She can often be found tripping over her own feet and spilling coffee on everything she loves.