- He Mele Aloha
me ka mahalo nui loa
Everywhere are the ihe you’ve helped to carve from the whispering kauila, the barbs hewn
by eager hands that hurl them— the same that anticipate their return, and catch them mid-flight.
There are the hulu you’ve woven alongside us into the ‘ahu of the Ko‘olau’s folds, the makana of kalo, niu, ‘uala, ‘ulu, mai‘a, and i‘a this ‘āina has fed you, too,
and the ‘ili‘ili birthing themselves in the na‘au of Papa bathed by the rain of Wākea— they’ve shown you how they make themselves mountains.
And everywhere, we are beginning to hear our voices rising with yours like a pahu invoking Manaiakalani [End Page 250]
from the writhing depths of Pōuliuli, while the wa‘a of Māui is unearthed and ready
to guide us over the waves.
Brandy Nālani McDougall is a Kanaka Maoli poet and PhD candidate in English at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She is the author of The Salt-Wind, Ka Makani Pa‘akai (Honolulu: Kuleana ‘Ōiwi Press, 2008) and a chapbook, which was published in Effigies: An Anthology of New Indigenous Writing (Cambridge, uk: Salt Publishing, 2009).
cape or cloak
a native tree
windward mountain range on the island of O‘ahu
canoe [End Page 251]