Ghazal for freshwater – wai

Not so long ago, my baby floated in amniotic wai.

Oceans within oceans, and beneath them—wai.


Kunawai spring makes a way through concrete,

beneath streets, alongside apartments, burbling wai.


Double the word for water in Hawaiian and the sum

means: goods, value, worth, wealth, importance—waiwai.


At Red Hill, the US Navy stores 200 million gallons of fuel

above the aquifer. A war machine knows no sacred wai.


A gasoline smell in the water. Then illness—vomiting, aches,

burning skin, diarrhea—5,000 sick from petroleum-laced wai.


Perched over the same aquifer, I fill my baby’s sippy cup

with questions, Is this, too, poisoned wai?


Divorce water from its wealth and the words are:

expendable, collateral, justifiable sacrifice of wai.


Are we doing any better with these wells and pipes?

Our endless appetite for lawns and showers. Municipal wai.


O, do not make me lie to my baby. Let what is good, be good—

this gift of water, this person you love most, wai.