You came into my life with hair falling down your back
Emerging from Northern waters with
a fish in one hand.
Braiding my hair
With red dirt on your feet,
Carving flowers of Karabao bone
to hang ’round my neck.
With thick arms, you held hilitai still
For tiny hands to wander over black and yellow skin.
And pursed your lips together,
Calling deer to our doorstep.
You came into our lives with salt water
And smiles, guiding us over limestone cliffs,
Teaching us to holler at the ocean and watch it yell back.
You whittled baby hagan from ifit
Shoving them in our pockets,
Teaching us to suck the sweet tips of hibiscus.
You left us with wind whipping through sick niyok
and your head bare
You slipped away, leaving us breathless on your latte benches,
your acho’ atupat laying lonely on mildewed shelves as
we twist lisåyu beads, whispering your name.
You will come back
In every star over the Yigo sky,
And with every ayuyu creeping across a dirt road.
We will hear you in sharp whistles, sending babui running,
and in sounds of chiba hooves pounding down rocky hills.
We will feel you with barefoot steps over wet grass and in each unexpected spray of salt water to our faces
As we search the water for you, from where you came.
Si Yu’us Ma’åse, Tihu. Mahålang nu hågu.