Before we stopped speaking, my mother told me of an all – woman island. My side of the family, she said, her mouth twisting like a sick branch. And the women are witches. I have since dreamed of women with heads of barbed wire. Torso in the bedroom, breasts in the sink. Legs divided between O ʻahu and Maui. Is witch the right word? When I sleep with a new woman, my mother whispers fetus into her fingers and sews my mouth shut. The fetus of a witch becomes a bitch. No daughter of hers will sleep like that. For the self-segmenting woman armed with needle and thread, rhyme is a mnemonic device. Repetition is rope. I will always look like her. Repeat: say nothing, daughter. Repeat: sleep alone, daughter. Daughter the word for stitch her close. When my blood touches her blood it means my mother spits needles. When I dream of women and wire it means I fuck like a woman at war with her body. Where is my rope? I am a witch. Or I am an island. Or am I a love story misinterpreted? Fetus eating with a face to memorize. Mother, I am the myth bitch you dream about.
Noʻu Revilla is a queer Native Hawaiian poet, educator, and aloha ʻāina. Her poetry has been featured in Poetry and Literary Hub as well as the Honolulu Museum of Art. Her latest chapbook Permission to Make Digging Sounds was published in Effigies III in 2019, and she has performed throughout Hawaiʻi as well as Canada, Papua New Guinea, and at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York City. This past summer, she taught poetry at Puʻuhuluhulu University while standing to protect Maunakea with her lāhui.