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A Streetcar Named Diaspora

 

Poutasi silver,  
red-and-rustic

melted plastic
and wheels with friction
 
the year was   
two thousand and fifteen.
 
Cousin,
 
                            Silafaga
 
thank you,
for this car,
this driver’s seat,
this vehicle
— that zooms
 
melting present into future, kissing
future’s cheek against the past’s lips.
 
This car,
this thing
that race
we’ve won.
 
Your mana,
I have carried,
this car
 — that taonga
 
Second hand object of joy
I play, play, play
with this ta’avale
and remember:


What it’s like to be home
here,
and there,
and what it’s like to
race between islands
and know that I belong
to all of them.

 

 

Poutasi = Village in Samoa that my mum’s side of my family come from
Silafaga = the name of my Samoan cousin who gifted me his little metal car to remember him by
Mana = Māori for life force
taonga = Māori for treasure, inheritance, object of sacred value
ta’avale = Samoan for car

 

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  • Zech Soakai reads 'A Streetcar Named Diaspora'