by Craig Santos Perez

(to my wife, n?lani
and our 7-month old daughter, kai)

kai cries
from teething--

how do
new parents

comfort a
child in

pain, bullied
in school,

shot by
a drunk

APEC agent?

n?lani gently

massages kai's
gums with

her fingers-
how do

we wipe
away tear--

gas and
blood? provide

shelter from
snipers? disarm

occupying armies?

n?lani sings
to kai

a song
about the

Hawaiian alphabet--
what dreams

will echo
inside detention

centers and
cross teething

borders to
soothe the

thousands of
children atop

la bestia?

n?lani rubs
kai's back

warm with
coconut oil--

how do
we hold

violence at
arm's length

when raising
[our] hands

up is
no longer

a universal
sign of

surrender? #black

kai finally
falls asleep

in n?lani's
cradling arms,

skin to
skin against

the news--
when do

we tell
our daughter

there's no
safe place

for us
to breathe #...


Last updated March 22, 2023