Loa Niumetolu


Driving back from Marae Orongo 
I turn left to go to the Harbor
I must see that large, magnificent
and talk with the speckled chickens
walking on the brittle Toa leaves.
This is my birthright
to call on my ancestors
for comfort.
I’ll pick this red hibiscus.

The edges of my eyes gather wrinkles
Their rough shine can’t lie about the rocky
life I’ve lived.
My hair is spotted grey like the chickens
This pareu wrap can’t reach the other side
of my mushy belly.
Despite the antibiotics, these mosquito
bites still ooze with pus.

I’ll wear this bright, beautiful, red hibiscus
in my hair
Lay with Coconut and Toa trees
We’ll watch the waves lap in and out,
to ease this shattering
of our hearts.

detail of Diasporic Waters - Joy Enomoto - 2014
Baninnur: A Basket of Food

Loa Niumeitolu is a Tongan American poet who lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for the last five years and recently moved to Atiu, the Cook Islands. She uses writing as a tool for personal and collective healing. She strongly believes that engaging in healing today will heal ancestors from the past and the present and secures a sacred space of healing for the future.