Lessons in Quarantine

Listen here:



The second thing I learn is rain.
It falls harder here.
Like the woman at the end
of the road sleeps harder
& locks her doors at night.

Two years ago, with water,
digging stick & a mouthful
of seeds, I walked here.
To the edge of the city.
More mud, bark & branch.
Shades of brown, centuries in the making.
I walked here to live.
The third thing
I learn, this dirt.
This rain sent special for it.
This quelling of madness.
Everything will be green, again.

Yet the first thing,
the very first thing I learn is your hair.
indomitable, wicked.
The first thing to pry my mouth open
& spit hard for.


Inside me: two seeds.
One planted in my throat,

a dark highway fingered
by akua moonlight.

The other seed raised
in a fist of bright veins.

Who will taste without
swallowing my grove of lehua?

In a world terrified of rain,
who will kiss my resilient

red mouth? ʻO wai kou kupunahine?
I carry these seeds like a child

carries her grandmother’s blood.
ʻO ka ʻāina nō. ʻO ka ʻāina nō.

Trucks are still carrying medicine
& folding tables

water & hot food
driving the dark highway

to ke ala hulu kupuna
where the sky is so thin,

the thinnest of all skins
come to stitch a new story,

so thin I can see bone.
Our bones matter.

From seed to summit, Līlīnoe
will hold us without conquest.

Because my ea is bound to
your ea is bound to this ea.

ʻO wai kou kupunahine?
ʻO ka ʻāina nō. ʻO ka ʻāina no.


Noʻu Revilla is a queer ʻŌiwi poet, educator & aloha ʻāina. Her latest chapbook Permission to Make Digging Sounds was published in Effigies III in 2019, and she has performed & facilitated poetry workshops throughout Hawaiʻi as well as Canada, Papua New Guinea and the United Nations. In the summer 2019, she taught poetry at Puʻuhuluhulu University while standing with her lāhui to protect Maunakea.