Nu’uanu Valley
Upside-Down Falls

The mysterious water flowed upward
like a knotted
will roping itself
to the Pali cliffs
where once
warriors trapped
between death
and surrender
the abyss, and leaped—
a waterfall of bones
and blood—
all flow and flux
all tide and rush
and changing
into ferns and moss
the colors
of jade and emerald—
until they revived
as myth
as those fierce
who stalked
my childhood.
Whenever I thought of them
fear pounded
into my heart
like a design
into tapa.
Every night
the dream-stitched
warriors threaded
up through my unraveled
their blue
contorted faces
slipped through
my tiny cocoon
of bedtime
One by one
they leaned
over my snugged-in
child shape
and breathed
into me:
the blown waters,
the cold upside-
down plumes
of death.

Susan Kelly-DeWitt | Mudlark No. 33
Contents | Photograph of a Girl