Faith Wilson

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Another Nafanua Poem

When I sit down to write I think of all the Nafanuas the Sinas and the squillions of eels swimming downstream laying eggs getting eaten I see the footsteps of Vela not fresh but freshly retraced hear all the fast-talking PIs so fast I can’t get a word in sideways and when I try I get bloodclots in my throat I choke they’re so well written I think there’s no more room on this skin but then I see Uncle’s ingrown toenail I remember the smell of his toe-jams from the sandals he never got rid of I inspect the cracks on Aunty’s tongue my workaday Father’s split heels the little hair follicles on my Mum’s upper lip I watch Nana’s false teeth clacking as she tells me about stealing coconuts from the nuns about her beautiful sister Clara who died at nine and Agnes who died at nineteen and her mother Saufo’i who died when Nana was fifteen and about Silia’s saggy susus and about Papa my beautiful Papa Charle Sale who was the most handsome man in all of Samoa and about her Aunty who got possessed and sounded like a robot and about being the taupou even though she wasn’t the eldest and lying for her sister Lusia not going to school and straight up telling the police officer that she wouldn’t date him because his breath was so bad it smelt like onions and all of these stories I write down anyway I cast new shades for us to cool off under new pages to dirty make drowsy with kava-spit I stuff them with plantation tobacco make them Irie with that homegrown smoke ‘em like a spliff these are the bloody-marrow of our bones these stories give me my sass when I talk my strut when I walk so take the hibiscus out of your ear and listen.

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