Margo Vitarelli

Kukau (Taro)

A mesei a delal a telid:
The taro patch is the mother of our breath

Stable, smooth, comfort food
The solid yin for the wild seafood yang

From the primordial mud where toes
Squish down deep finding a firm foothold

Green hearts reaching upward
Shining in sunlit breezes

The faint sound of a trickling stream
Steady flow, sturdy legs, strong corm

A woman’s retreat, a hallowed haunt
Sharing secrets, stealing time away

Tradition, the ties that bind
Rites of passage, a gathering

Placed with care in coconut baskets
Lined neatly in rows, revealing the riches

Abundance for everyone, not just a few
The breath of life.

Baninnur: A Basket of Food

Margo Vitarelli, Education Director at the Mānoa Heritage Center (a botanical garden and cultural site), is a museum educator, exhibition designer, Pacific art historian, printmaker, book illustrator, and grandmother of two beautiful children who live in Palau. She grew up in the Islands of Micronesia, where she later taught education, art, and creative writing courses at the local community colleges. She earned a master’s degree from the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

detail of Diasporic Waters - Joy Enomoto - 2014