boys and girls in a wild swirl of yellow sun.
Escaped parakeets flickered in the trees,
trees that fluttered prayer-flag fronds
and offered fruits and nuts and bees.
We killed fire ants and ran beneath the moon,
raised the yard dust with our feet as
Blanche’s mother taught us hula,
rolling her feet and her wrists and her waist,
whispering stories gory and historic, so real
I could repeat them to you now.
If anyone found a centipede, we’d call out
until the boy with the big shoe brought his stick.
He was our killing expert. It seemed to do him good.
Red hibiscus hedges; every day I drank one perfect
drop of nectar from the stamen of a bloom and
put the bloom behind my ear. Mama said just one.
Brian Kahiki could run right up a coconut tree,
throwing brown monkey calls down at our heads, and
Toshiko’s baby’s hair stood straight up on the crown;
when she put the baby down he howled
until other mothers touched their chests,
turned toward each other with their eyebrows up.
On days they moved the Dumpsters, we jostled
down the path between the yards and squatted
on the asphalt to hear the maggots scream.