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Eric Smith
New Zealand/ Samoa

Moka's Utu - Penny Howard
Saina Ma’i

Saina Ma’i
Anemic sickly slight
Cute but not cute enough to get the girl
Lollipop head on a scrawny frame
Black and Yellow not in Wiz Kahlifa style
Jet Black (beautiful hair) and skin (beautiful soft) a shade of Jaundice not “in” this year
Not in any year Chinese or otherwise

Saina Ma’i
Gave it away to be on the team
It: the books
It: mums words
It: dads hopes
At least you got to play league
But you only ever got a try playing rugby
And when the whistle blew full time
You were at home doing something creative
Wishing you were out on the darkened streets running with the guys

Saina Ma’i
A man I’ve never met
But only knew through my Nana and her brothers
A man even they may not have known
Shipped back to China his precious cargo left in paradise
His essence echoing still in the face and voices of the generations of children he never knew
Some part of him lingering in my veins just enough for them all to call me Saina Ma’i

Saina Ma’i
Your hopeless Samoanised name makes me yearn to know you
Makes me wish there was some way to connect again
Dream of the possibility of understanding myself just a little deeper
To somehow thank you for giving me that part of yourself
That made me tread water a little harder
To tell you how the one thing I did not like about myself
Has filled me with pride. You gave me strength in more ways than you will ever know
Not bad for a “sickly chinaman”

Saina Ma’i
I love you Great Grandad… wherever you are.