Saturday, September 30, 2017


coco mālie kawaioli krishok
6 pounds of decolonization
each syllable proclaims your lineage
your auspicious arrival
daughter of natives and immigrants

small earthling self
constellating through the cosmos
into our arms on the fall equinox

did your grandmother sense you?
as your mother’s ovaries formed in vitro
perfect little ovaries the size of mustard seeds
the embryo implanted into the lining
made rich by centuries of women survivors

hailing from portugal
the philippines
and hawaii

the follicle that would become you
carrying the stories that comprise your genes
your body knows the flavors and recipes
passed through umbilical cords into amniotic fluid

my son introduces my korean mother and father to you
and the polish and italian parents and grandparents of his father
the nightshades appropriated by the conquistadors from the americas
into italy circle back
and land smack dab in the middle of the pacific ocean

floating in your salty ocean
every grandmother and great grandmother and great great grandmother
caresses you
welcomes you
stay, little one, stay

where is my mother in your perfect dna?
where is my halmoni and the women before her?
could you taste the go-chu and ma-nul in the fluid
preparing your palate for kim-chi?

every gulp of breastmilk connects you back to the islands
and peninsulas of the matriline
those who survived genocides
the korean women during wartime, struggling to feed their children
buffeted by aspiring super-powers
the filipina clutching their identities, their homes, and families
the wahine fighting for their waters, their language, and their land

how many times can land be stolen?
how many times can a woman be raped?
how many times can she be humiliated and trampled?
how do we reclaim our bodies, our homes,
our food,
our stories,
our children and grandchildren?

I feed your mother the tomatoes and potatoes
from native america via italy and poland
I feed your mother the kim-chi from ground chilis
packed in po-ja-gi and carried across boats
I feed your mother my mother’s myuk-guk
iron-rich birthday soup of roasted sesame oil, soaked mushrooms,
and seaweed from oceans that touch both
this island and my grandmother’s peninsula

it is all I can do to not take you to my own breast
of dried milk ducts and shriveled ovaries
I am past childbearing
I have entered the larger realm
of the intergenerational embrace
I am backed by my ancestors and their ancestors before them

I carry their wounds and their brilliance and their strength
I am here to embody all that as I cradle you
in arms that stretch generations

welcome, my child
coco mālie kawaioli krishok

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