from understory

 

            ~      

for my wife, nālani

and our unborn daughter, kaikainaliʻi

 

~

 

We cannot think of a time that is oceanless

Or of an ocean not littered with wastage

 

—T.S. Eliot from “The Dry Salvages”

 

~

 

nālani is

drinking a

 

glass of

filtered tap                           Brita Pitcher Plastic Water Filtration $24.99

                                                           4-pack replacement filters $24.99

water when

she first

 

feels kaikainali’i

kicking—plastic

 

from fukushima

litters the

 

beaches of

o’ahu—gathering

 

place—nālani

is watching

 

an online

documentary about

 

home birth—

part of

 

a comb,

corner of

 

a crate,

piece of

 

bottle cap—

nālani is

 

craving raw

fish eat                                 ʻahi pokē : $17.99 per lb at Safeway in Mānoa

 

fish that

eat plastic

 

derived from

oil, absorbed

 

into tissue—

the doctors

 

recommend we

schedule a

 

c-section—if

you cut

 

open the

bellies of

 

large fish

and birds

 

you will

find the

 

bristles of

[our] tooth-

 

brushes—every

body births

 

plastic never

completely dissolves—

 

because amniotic

fluid is

 

ninety percent

water hanom

 

hanom hanom

 

***

 

Craig Santos Perez is a native Chamoru from the Pacific Island of Guåhan (Guam). He is the co-founder of Ala Press, co-star of the poetry album Undercurrent (2011), and author of three collections of poetry: from unincorporated territory [hacha] (2008) from unincorporated territory [saina] (2010), and from unincorporated territory [guma’] (2014). He is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Creative Writing Program in the English Department at the University of Hawai’i, Mānoa.

 

 

 

 

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