ginen tidelands [latte stone park] [hagåtña, guåhan]

[for my dad]

The fallen Latte is the sign. It is from within the row of Latte that
we feel our strength. It is the severed capstone that gives us Their
message, "Ti monhayon I che'cho." We will not rest until the
Latte is whole.

—Cecilia C. T. Perez from "Signs of Being: A Chamoru
Spiritual Journey" (1997)

             ~

i haligi
a pillar

i tasa
a capstone

i tataotao
a body

             ~

his hands—
husk coconut—

cooks and
feeds [us]—

stories—this
raised house—

at quarry
outline forms

to sing
forward—carve

limestone to
sing past—

            ~

citizen : drafted
vietnam war

the rifle
he kept

his uniform
his fatigue

            ~

soak coconut
fibersdry

under sun
"make rope"

braided hair
"like this"

            ~

hålla haligi
pull sky

hålla tasa
"pull, son"

with [our]
entire breath

             ~

[our] bones:
acho' latte

removed from
to museum

of trespass
to here
Craig Santos Perez, "ginen tidelands [latte stone park] [hagåtña, guåhan]" from From Unincorporated Territory [guma']. Copyright © 2014 by Craig Santos Perez.  Reprinted by permission of Omnidawn Publishing.
Source: From Unincorporated Territory [guma'] (Omnidawn Publishing, 2014)
More Poems by Craig Santos Perez