Author: Lehua Taitano

Lehua M. Taitano, a native Chamoru from Yigu, Guahån (familian Taitano and Flores) has spent her lifetime residing either in the mountains or by the sea. She is a graduate of The University of Montana’s M.F.A. Creative Writing Program and author of the Merriam-Frontier Award-winning chapbook appalachiapacific. Her first book, A Bell Made of Stones, is forthcoming from TinFish Press. Her poetry, essays, and Pushcart Prize-nominated fiction have appeared in Versal, dislocate, Nano Fiction, and Tinfish Journal, among others. She also has work featured in or forthcoming from the following anthologies: The Fiction at Work Bi-Annual Report, USO’s on Freeways: Anthology of Pacific Island Writers in/from the U.S., Micronesia Anthology: Indigenous Writers of Micronesia, and Transpacific Poetics. She is a 2011 Visiting Writer of Fiction at Idyllwild Arts Academy in southern California.

Banana Queen & Letters from an Island

Banana Queen

The middle of Everywhere
is what I said
to this one who asked

Instead of Nowhere,
which he claimed.

Find it he said,
on this map here.

All the cartography in his
world could
not make it anything more
than a gnat hole.

Injun, this other one said.
Must be, with a name
like That.

(All they are ever trying to get
at is what
flavor should we call
your cunt.)

You don’t look like–
this other one
–a Guamanite.

(Guamish. Guamese. Guamarian.)

Foster, another one said.

He couldn’t palate
my aversion, which is truest
allergy, cramped.

With a name
like That,
he Said, I’d think you’d be
The Banana Queen.

(                        )

Should I pluck
each injury like
an arrow and dis-
mantle each and if
so how.

Besides which wounds
deepest, the point
or the nock.

Anyway my quivers
are deep as hulls and
the ocean rocks the clatter
chanting feather and splinter
into fish bone.

Waves shudder and
vertebra is a vowel
rib an inflection

Until each
white shard
knits itself into a slight
poem, into a swimming
skeleton of everything I
could ever say
at all.

Letters from an Island

Hi Everyone. Maria Flores to Shelton Family, 1982.

Hi everyone
I hope you are all fine
as for us we are
just fine
you ought to know how
I fill of writing
I’m not that good so please
excuse me I just make
this cookies for my girl
to remember the old lady
I think the baby can’t
try it I have a gift and
her m__ one m____
and I’ve other for Leah
and the shoes for Lehua
and the blouse I’ve buy
lady the mama is just
are 500 the blouse is 6 or
I hope you all like it
please write to me if you
recived it did you recived
the one that Lanie mail it
I ask Lanie and she said
she just mail it the other
day I want to thank you
for the meat
it really good
Mary give me a ring
but it fit on my small
finger please
don’t tell her
that I’m giving you something
tell Mary if she want me
to come I’m ready
send my ticket