Pow-Wow at Thomas Square

By DELAINA THOMAS

Honolulu

 

I walk to the park
drummers sit in a circle under a white tent
they have drifted this far way on pacific waves
long feathers tucked behind their ears
they sweat in soft fringed hides
their faces lean and dark

I walk past a stall of frybread and smoked meat
to a table of pawn jewelry
a hunk of turquoise dappled with green
is set in a cuff of old silver engraved
with swastikas and stars
I wonder if it was gambled away 
I say to no one in particular
it would look nice on you I hear and look up
at the vendor older and handsome 
two bear claws at his collarbone

I don’t want to wear someone else’s heartache 
I have enough of my own I say 
he asks what tribe I am
my people are from an island I’ve never been to 
I say as I walk away

 

Delaina Thomas born and raised in Hawaiʻi, is a lifelong activist of Asian descent. Her writing has focused on two oppressed matriarchal cultures: the Hawaiian and the Uchinanchu. She researches and cultivates endangered endemic Hawaiian plants. Delaina is a certified teacher of Transcendental Meditation and has an MFA in creative writing from UC Irvine. Her work has appeared in Hawaiʻi Review, The Hudson Review, The Missouri Review, The Asian Pacific American Journal, Bamboo Ridge, and other publications.

[Purchase Issue 20 here.]

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