Jennifer Hasegawa | THIS LOVE LIKE A ROCK



My dad hauled home
a beautiful rock. It was three-feet tall
and pocked like a wild sponge.

When it rained, water pooled
in the top pocks and cascaded down
to fill the lower pocks.

He told my mom,
Pele made em jus fo you, honey!”
She said, “Fairy tales.”

The rock started making
its own water. I monitored it as it
slowly circled our house.

He ate some bad opihi (auwe!)
and was writhing in bed for days
as red moss crept across the rock.

Back at work, a boulder toppled
from the trench of a bulldozer
and caught his leg.

Earthbound meteor left a gash
in his shin. Blood pooled in the top pocks
and cascaded down to fill the lower pocks.

He hobbled out the front door,
gently tucked the rock into the bed of his truck
and we headed for Volcano town.

He returned it
to the grove of ōhi‘a lehua
where he found it.

My father stared at his battered leg
and I worried that the rock would be
there waiting when we got home.

We listened to the urgent trill of the ‘i‘iwi,
dipping its beak into the nectaries of the forest,
our pores wide open
………………………….and taking in
………………………….………………….our own sweet medicine.


Author’s Bio

Jennifer Hasegawa is a poet and photographer. The manuscript for her forthcoming book, La Chica’s Field Guide to Banzai Living, received the Joseph Henry Jackson Award. Her work has appeared in The Adroit Journal, Bamboo Ridge, and Tule Review. She was raised in Hilo, Hawaiʻi and lives in San Francisco.