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August 5, 2019 | by  | in Features Poetry | [ssba]

Grandma’s Panipopos

My grandma had hands that could knead love into Panipopos

Sew consideration into pe’as for white sunday

And slap sense into the back of my head because I’d giggle at how she said

“Luisa aua ke fiaboko”

I could see her pride in the way she’d curl ribbons on the ula loles, waddle up to the stage, arthritis and all to say

“Luisa I love you.”

She’d send out eye smiles to the drivers who flipped her off

My nan was a queen who admittedly did not deserve a licence and she knew as she would say

“Oi, sorry”

My grandma spoke to me in onomatopoeias and I found a home in between the a’es and aikaes

My nan was a queen who admittedly threw curses to my being when the remote control was too far away

Fale left her kindness at the base of her shoulder I would lay my head on when life hit too hard and after the tears stopped she told me

“Luisa ua la”

Which meant.

Take ur tears and dry them because

You are a warrior

These hands you have that are like mine can build life and nourish it. These feet you got from me have walked a path that has been washed away by the shores of men. But we stamp our footprint on the heart of our daughters to remind them, of a love we give to ourselves before we give to others. 

That’s not really what she said

But interpretations are all I have from my fob nan.

Interpretations keep me awake at night replaying regrets in my head.

I used to soak up everything she did like a sponge watch and learn and when I thought I could think for myself I wrung out the knowledge you gave me to wipe up the tears from mistakes I made. Like a child, I wrestled with the love you gave me and now even though I wrestle with time. Now,

I try to knead the same love into my panipopos but they keep burning for some reason

Sew consideration into peas for church but the needles prick my skin

Throw eye smiles to those who wrong me but can’t restrain the sharp words that flow so easily

And these pillows don’t hold the same warmth as ur shoulder

Even the voice in my head doesn’t hold the same afflictions you did

I wonder how long it will take to 





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