I want to write a poem about how the muscles in my arms are sore today. They’re sore because yesterday I took the babies to the beach. I carried E because she wobbles and the bleached white washed up coral rocks are hard to walk on, nevermind the constrasting black sharp jagged lava rock. K of course begged until I had a giggling child on each hip, and we made our way to the water. This beach is on the west shore of the big island of hawaii, the same bay where captain cook was slaughtered over a stolen boat. This beach has crystal clear waters and fish that you can see from the shore- darting and nervous. K’s dad told me to never settle my weight on the underwater rocks, because the poisonous and prickly vana settled into any available and waiting cracks. This beach has an elevated natural pool, with walls formed from the lava rock, whos entrace dipped low enough to climb into about 15 feet from the shore. Where fat babies play in the shallow water, if their mothers know the tides well enough to bring them when the pool isn’t dried up under the sun. Balanced with a baby in either arm, and the sun tanning my back, I stepped into the ocean, past the waves lapping the sand and towards the safety of the pool. The babies arent mine but I saw how the other mothers deemed the pool safe enough for their own sunkissed children. I’m not a mom but even I knew that the girls would be safe in there, with me, each uniformed with purple floaties. Within seconds of wading in the pool’s cool waters, the ocean laughed in my face. The waves rose and splashed against the barrier made of rock, they splashed hard- so hard that my phony cries of “whoa look at that big one!” no longer amused the girls. The heard the uncertainty in my voice. They could sense what would happen if the waves kept it up. And they did. The pool swelled and the girls floated far from me while my eyes burned with the salty spray of the violent waves crashing against our safety. I pulled them closer, but the next wave would attack within seconds. K was old enough to climb up my side and cling to me. E had long stopped laughing at the big KABOOMS and instead pleaded with her crystal blue eyes to be picked up. She didn’t cry. She wasnt two years old yet but the ancient makeup of her blood and bones knew that crying in an emergency is futile. I steadied myself, knowing that if I fell onto the rock and knocked my head, we would all drown. I picked up E on my available side and K was choking me but asking her to loosen her grip would be asking her to submit to death. She clinged to me, the new babysitter, because she wanted to survive. I timed my departure towards the shore, terrified. The waves were large enough to leave me panicked if I were alone, a lifelong swimmer, child of the Caribbean and of the cold florida springs. My mind did not have the time to curse the tides, to question why neptune would change the mood of his ocean so quickly, instantly. Instead I vividly imagined what could happen to the three of us, to the two girls, under this strength. I might not drown but my life would be over. I would not want to take another breath. I made my calculations, heavy with a child slippery on each side, and plunged away from the swirling turmoil of the rising pool, and towards the shore. We dunked under water and I grabbed each girl by whatever limb, curve, clothing or surface I could pull. I had seconds to regain my composure, to make sure each girls face was above water and breathing air, before the tide began to pull us backwards, prepping for another massive wave. My feet dug into the sand for leverage, willing to trample a thousand vana as long as these babies could live to see another day. The force of the fresh wave punched me in the back of the head. I rode the force of it closer to shore. I had E by her floatie, arms distorted and head hanging down. I could no longer feel K’s knees squeezing my side like an endangered ape, the only one of its kind- but her tiny hands pulled my bathing straps and dug into my skin. I was the native with my stone knife at captain cook’s neck. You will not get away with this injustice. My feet hit solid ground and my knife plunged into his soft flesh. I won this round. The babies coughed and sputtered, my muscles screamed from the fight against a force as old as the earth, and I felt dizzy with adrenaline. I told K that she was very brave, and her small voice asked me how she couldve been brave if she was so scared. E pressed against my calves and hugged my knees. Her wide eyes stared at the crystal water, both exactly the same shade. She muttered one of her few words, “beach”, and refused to get back in once the waves settled.
i dont remember the last time i met a tsa agent without my eyes overflowing and a huge knot in my throat and my name croaking out in sobbing sputters
i miss so many people
“The Benevolent Dragon or Iguana” Oaxaca, Mexico. Photographer: Holly Wilmeth, National Geographic, 2014
Roy Lichtenstein (American: 1923-1997), Modular Painting with Four Panels,1969. Oil and acrylic on canvas.
Why isnt there a naked white boy in a pig mask crawling around cleaning my house?
Im asking all the important questions.