In the Kingdom of Tonga

By | 1 February 2013

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.

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