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Home to me

Updated: Jun 15, 2022

When I was on the other side of the world

I wanted nothing more than to come

Back home.

Home to me was


My parent’s small, creaky

wooden house

surrounded by vibrant

red teuila and

fragrant siale and pua flowers

that the church steward's wife and daughters

would ask for cuttings of

to decorate the church we haven’t been in

since our father died.

Home to me was

a plate of hot luu moa and

slightly charred manioke

steaming from the umu pit

of our neighbour across the dirt road

exchanged with a plate of my mother’s

Japanese cooking

around 12ish on a Sunday afternoon.

Home to me was

climbing up the nonu tree

to pick young nonu buds and soft leaves

for my baby niece’s vai pala

that my older cousin would crush

in a cloth of questionable cleanliness

and squeeze droplets into the screaming baby’s

toothless little mouth.

Home to me was

A big pot of too-sweet topai for breakfast

And an even bigger pot of chicken noodles for dinner

To feed my father’s extended, extended, extended family

When they’d come to visit from the islands.

Home to me was

my mum’s secret delight

as the guests slowly left

and she cooks her Japanese rice

no more sugar, no more coconut

no more soupy, runny rice.

Home to me was

cleaning my father and grandfather’s graves

at Makamaka cemetery.

piling sand and rocks and coral,

cutting grass and pulling weeds

round Father’s day and Christmas


whenever we felt guilty

that the grass is overgrown.

Home to me was

Hearing the clang of hammers on

Rusted metal sheet roofs

Slammed onto windows.

When the rain showered warm

Then it poured down cold

Hearing on the radio it was a

Category 3,4,5 tropical cyclones now

It’s gotten stronger every year.


Home to me is nostalgia.

Bits of my childhood.

Bits of my past.

Maybe that’s why I yearned for home.

Home is a distant past.

Home is a memory.

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