lolomaloha: fruit for aiko
this pomelo is a poema canoe fleshed of poetreefor distances for sistering and brothering i meankin-ship
for travel across this
our blue skin
this pomelo is
a setting off star-shipping
with dried seeds, smoked fish
and fresh coconutgenealogies this jabong is a camakau sunset pink translated
tongue to minefriend-ship
steered by talanoa
wayfinding with lolomaloha
na ʻāina momona
Kokoda-making is a homecoming
to Sunday feasts on sweltering Fijian afternoons
ika and dalo
with lemon, salt, and chili.
Kokoda making is a homecoming
calls to mum and aunties across datelines
searching for names of fish
in mother tongue.
In San Francisco
Una and I
lacking a machete or even a butcher knife
slam Safeway coconuts against concrete stair edges,
rush to capture the juice
before it runs into the street below
our laughter a tropical sun.
Kokoda making is an act of love;
cubing fish into mouthfuls
juicing fistfuls of lemon
coconut scraper straddled,
cupping white fruit to metal teeth
scenting the air
the lean of trees towards ocean
skin clothed in coconut oil.
Kokoda making is resilience.
In Waikīkī where the niu is stripped of fruit
I use cans of Thai lolo
I have lost my scraper en route to Hawaiʻi,
and the one at Na Mea—decorated with shell inlay—is $90
not for everyday use.
Across from the Ala Moana
my family sits down to eat at one
and finishes near midnight
a feast of kokoda, sushi, mussels with lolo
curried pork and Nikola’s fish soufflé.
We nourish ourselves with talanoa
between meal tides
stories of home
and savory gossip.
I promise myself
the next time I stop at the Fiji Market
in Kahuku for dal and roti
I will buy a new scraper.
One of these days
my kokoda will be as good as my mother’s.