for my mother

I have hibiscus in my blood,
             the red needles of ohia.

Rain slants up a hill inside me,
            the ocean wind rushes it

into a tangle of mountain breezes.
            My right arm is a lizard,

the hand is five tongues
            flicking. A sixth

invisible tongue is my pen.
            My left arm remembers

those volcanoes at the beginning,
            the goddess whose revenge

liquefies rock.
            I have pahoehoe and aa

in my veins, under my skin.
            Don’t ask me to dream

like some other born
            to desert dryness

or a place where winter snows
            on silently in the bones.

Susan Kelly-DeWitt | Mudlark No. 33
Contents | Voices: Kalihi