New verse by New Zealand-Tongan poet Simone Kaho.
Some people say
You’re too pretty to be Tongan
which is funny because
it’s usually Tongans who say it.
It is a short-cut to make a big distance between us
and casually call me Pālagi at the same time.
I can hardly see if they are still waving
where they are having an umu with family.
Feasting and belonging together
but this time
the umu is too deep
in the ground.
The food takes on the flavour of dirt.
I see them
eating pink gashes into the pig,
which is the same colour
as flesh-coloured dolls.
We thank you for our daily bread.
Pig juice to the roots of their fingers
so now they can be forced into tight holes
or slipped out of rings.
Mmm boaka mmm
– you don’t eat meat do you?
No but some Pālagis do
she eats bacon with her flesh-coloured mouth.
She said she heard the pigs crying once
before they were killed
by the Tongans.
They sounded like women.
Purchase Simone’s book here.
The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.