Emerging BIWOC Poet Spotlight
January 2023 Poet: Laurel Nakanishi
Waimea Valley III
I've been saving this in my mind for you —
the loulu palms with skirts of crackling leaves,
the wide net of a monkey pod tree,
the bird with a branded face and backward steps —
how she walked over the lily pads
until she sank and floated like a duck,
how bromeliads love the mango bark,
how seeds stick to the wing.
Up mauka the ridgelines crowd
with ironwood, strawberry guava and grass.
But I've been saving this in my mind —
the forest that could be. The seedlings of lama,
wiliwili, and koa cast down roots. The ‘ohi‘a ‘ai,
‘ohi‘a lehua, and alahe‘e reach into the sky.
They will catch the clouds above the old stream beds
and pull down the rain.
From Ashore by Laurel Nakanishi (Tupelo Press, 2021).