Maila Tatte

I wrote this after talking to a homesick relative, struggling with being away. 

I don’t like the way you “mi familia” i familia mu.

The way you “tortilla” your titiyas.

Maila tatte, mangaffa 

I’m depressed when your southern is more Tennessee than Talofofo. 

When you tag more Kyles than Kikos.

Maila tatte, mangaffa

Our women didn’t fling themselves pregnant over Northern cliffs for you to raise a baby that calls itself Spanish.

Maila tatte, mangaffa

Your aunties didn’t lie still under slant eyed men for you to be exoticized by another flag.

Maila tatte, mangaffa

Your nåna did not go hungry in a concentration camp for you to starve yourself sexy.

Maila tatte, mangaffa

Fu’una did not scatter her brother across our waters for you to live so far away.

Maila tatte, mangaffa


2 thoughts on “Maila Tatte

  1. Holy crap, Des. This gave me chills. So hauntingly sad and beautiful. Living away from Guam, I’ve definitely felt myself lose those parts of me little by little. I hope your relative can find those pieces of herself again.

    • It’s definitely as much about me as it is my homesick relative. I think all of us who have lived (or live) away for a long period of time might witness the loss of these parts (either in ourselves or in the diaspora around us). For years I wanted to come home, but was too busy clinging to outdated ideas about what life here would be like. It’s a hard thing: being away from home but not knowing how to come back.

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