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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Section 3: Wind/Breath/Flow

Tiffany Higgins

Tiffany Higgins
waiting on the island of Tuvalu
it wasn’t so many years
     ago in Pittsburg, California, our
own air grey with casual
     releases of Chevron
refinery, I met
     Arati, beautiful moon-
faced student, who’d arrived from five
     thousand miles away: cuz
“my auntie sent me.” Her island,
     Tuvalu, and its neighbor, Kiribati
a mere seven
     feet above sea level: the elders
had begun to send
     the young away.
Her glance direct
     and shining, her inner
well calm, without pings
     as only a child raised
happy on an island
     can glow. They had sent
her away to live in a second
     floor studio with a hot
But wasn’t it me,
   with my driving, who’d
done it? Hadn’t I, who love
   myth, removed
Taken from her
   mouth taro
root, yam, coco-
   nut, bread-
fruit. pulaka
   grown in swamp
pits on atoll→micro-
lift up, lift up, the rising.
the kin of Arati
     still waiting
on the islands of Tuvalu
     and Kiribati
Tiffany Higgins is the author of And Aeneas Stares into Her Helmet (2009), selected by Evie Shockley as the winner of the 2008 Carolina Wren Press Poetry Prize. Audio recordings of her poems and commentary on poetics appear on the website, From the Fishouse. Her poems have appeared in the Kenyon Review, Big Bridge, nocturnes, and others. Higgins is currently translating Brazilian poets, and teaches at several colleges in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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