Re: (the nature of light is undecided)
In the old time of distant things
where we spoke and heard words,
where events were long and drawn out,
everything had a sound,
even the day.
I knew there was going to be this great future,
broad and delirious
I stayed out all night for it
and it burnt me up,
I’ve been burned alive by my own language
the one taught to me.
Do you know, I grew up on the edge of town.
shouts and the smell of that dry weed that grows around the lake.
Spencer Beach Park
I was baptized in the waters of Spencer Beach Park, south of Kawaihae Harbor, my head arcing out to sea. It was late afternoon and the kids were playing in the ocean like seals. I could see them floating in the shadowy waves as daylight rushed over the deep. Streams of grainy light burst through the low clouds on the dark silver water. The ocean gleamed like a plain when we rounded the corner at the Queen’s Highway. I remember the thick mildew of the rainforest, cool like stones— the white heat at Hapuna, up in Hilo the grey rain. The place used to be called Ōhai ʻula.
One day, Tyson’s mom and her friend were swimming together in the waters of a he’e au where human sacrifices were flung. Sharks have been gliding there for hundreds of years. At the time, they didn’t know it.
I was baptized not far from the he’e au, though I did not know it then either. Like the women swimmers, it was told to me later.
Jennifer E. Brown is a writer from San Francisco. Her work appears in Lungfull!, The Indiana Review, Fourteen Hills, The New Orleans Review, and other American literary journals. Presently she has been nominated by Short, Fast & Deadly for the 2016 Pushcart Prize. She holds a master’s degree in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and works at Mills College in Oakland, California.