Children’s play is serious, dangerous.
It does not lie
in green squares platted with white lines.
Still waters make sailors sick at heart.
Fana / fire pitu / bamboo is a toy
every boy builds and fires off.
Tilt kerosene in the column, light it
with a match, boom! Big boys have keepers,
thick, heavy bamboo sawed off for impact.
Cha-Cha was born with balls, but he can-
not mess around with fana pitu like
his brothers. Cha-Cha is raised faka
leiti, as a girl, since there is no
sister. Her mother spoils her with tapi-
oca simmered in coconut milk, tea-
spoonfuls tipped into her big soft lips.
The sailor misses his sweetheart.
The smell of fuel is intoxicating.
She combs her hair.
In the Kingdom of Tonga
1 February 2013