have we forgotten so much that we will not easily find our way back to the ocean?

Rhegan Tu'akoi

i first heard Epeli Hau‘ofa’s voice in a tutorial

where students stumbled over his name

i stepped to the side because i recognised the fakau‘a

there’s one in my family name too

have we forgotten so much that we will not easily find our way back to the ocean?

he asked me from page twenty-two

i sat in silence as my finger traced the question

 

how much have i forgotten?

 

tomorrow i am going home

to warm waves, sunsoaked sands

a towering coconut tree the same age as my father

royal guards in tupenu 

and the village church my great grandfather built

 

how much have i forgotten?

 

it has been twenty-three years 

of wanting not wanting

to meet my people’s fonua

this will be my eighteenth 

international flight

but my first to tonga

 

how much have i forgotten?

 

will i recongise the swell of the water or the smell of the ‘umu?

will my palangi fingers be able to ascertain 

the difference between ngatu

and basic cloth?

will i be able to find my way back to the ocean?

 

how much have i forgotten?

 

i will disembark in twenty-four hours and 

feel the heat that’s what everyone tells me

it will be a beautiful summer and you will 

feel the heat

it will dry your throat and slide 

down your back

 

but i don’t want to be hot 

i want to be home

© 2019 by Tupuranga

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter