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This Love Like a Rock

My dad hauled home
a beautiful rock. It was three-feet tall
and pocked like a wild sponge.

When it rained, water pooled
in the top pocks and cascaded down
to fill the lower pocks.

He told my mom,
Pele made em jus fo you, honey!”
She said, “Fairy tales.”

The rock started making
its own water. I monitored it as it
slowly circled our house.

He ate some bad opihi (auwe!)
and was writhing in bed for days
as red moss crept across the rock.

Back at work, a boulder toppled
from the trench of a bulldozer
and caught his leg.

Earthbound meteor left a gash
in his shin. Blood pooled in the top pocks
and cascaded down to fill the lower pocks.

He hobbled out the front door,
gently tucked the rock into the bed of his truck
and we headed for Volcano town.

He returned it
to the grove of ōhi‘a lehua
where he found it.

My father stared at his battered leg
and I worried that the rock would be
there waiting when we got home.

We listened to the urgent trill of the ‘i‘iwi,
dipping its beak into the nectaries of the forest,
our pores wide open
_________________and taking in
)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))our own sweet medicine.

)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

Jennifer Hasegawa is a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet who has sold funeral insurance door-to-door and had her suitcase stolen from a plastic surgery clinic in Asunción, Paraguay. She was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaiʻi and lives in San Francisco. The manuscript for her first book of poetry, La Chica’s Field Guide to Banzai Living (Omnidawn 2020), won the Joseph Henry Jackson Literary Award. She is creating videopoems visualizing the book using footage taken while sheltering-in-place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her work has also appeared in The Adroit Journal, Bamboo Ridge, Bennington Review, and Tule Review and is forthcoming in jubilat.

To view other content published in this issue, 17:1, please visit Vallum’s website.

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