A Gender for a Village

Dear motherland

When can I come home?

I sleep

On a bed

A hundred wars

Away from you.

The air is cold

And there is nowhere to cry.

Dear Motherland,

Did I do you so wrong,

To deserve

This unholy silence-

That I must live

In someone else's truth.

That I must hold my tongue

When I go home.

That I am to embody

A man

That I don't know-

For my siblings’ sake.

Every morning, I wear a different man's face.

Every night, I sleep in a different gender.

Every funeral, I cry in a different language.

Did you forget,

That before the missionaries came

You sashayed about the jungle

Flowers in your hair and beard

In a tapa dress

That fell to your feet.

That you were




A witch

Who spat on the binary.

Did you forget how

How to twist your tongue

The old way?

The way that made missionary blood boil-

The blasphemous way?

Dear Motherland,

I learnt to be quiet.

When the village demands woman,

I give them woman.

When the village demands man,

I give them man.

And when the village doesn't need me,

I go back to my place

In the middle.


Will embody

The unholy matrimony

Of man

.And woman

Of tamaloa

And fafine

I will twist my tongue the old way

Whether you like it or not.

Cut steeples down

To humility

Call upon Tagaloa

Bring tectonic destruction-

You will whisper my name

Fearfully in between the pews.

I will bellow an ancient roar

Deafening the congregation,

Oceania, has never known a gender

that bites back quite like this.

The gender that fights back quite like this.

The ancestors will applaud me Samoa.

Can you say the same-

Never forget,

That your pronouns

Were 6 islands

In a constant state of drowning.

You knew my pain

All too well

Dear Motherland,

When I return home,

Sashay about the jungle

With flowers in my hair

And a tapa dress.

Only then will you realize,

That blasphemy

Has always been your legacy.


This poem is about: 
My family
My community
My country


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