Frances Kakugawa (2012 Poem In Your Pocket)

Somewhere in This World

by Gail Harada

Somewhere in this world
anything is possible.

ʻŌhiʻa lehua might take root in black lava
or high on a windy cliff
with blossoms beautiful as the perfect velvet-red rose.

New leaves after devastation
might emerge thicker and more verdant than before.

A native hibiscus, kokiʻo keʻokeʻo,
growing in a schoolyard
might unfurl its delicately fragrant petals
one ordinary morning as traffic merges on the freeway.

A mountain might stand more majestic
Adorned again with stories told in the reborn air.

Gail N. Harada was born in Honolulu and spent part of her childhood on a military base in Japan. She has a B.A. from Stanford University and an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. In 2000, she won a Pushcart Prize for her poem “A Meditation.” She is the author of a collection of poems and stories, BEYOND GREEN TEA AND GRAPEFRUIT (Bamboo Ridge 2013). She teaches writing and literature at Kapi‘olani Community College. Find out more about her books at


Dusk at Kauaʻi Surf

by Frances Kakugawa

A sadness falls over me

As man’s torches

Replace the sun

Beyond the red mountains.

A giant Japanese fan

Ripples out in circlets

Around a mallard

As she dips her head

Into her wings

To nibble a bug

On the quiet pond.

Quietly the fan disintegrates

To the motor boat ripples

Trailing each mallard

Across the lake to shore.


Overnight Guest

by Frances Kakugawa

i am an overnight guest
 in their brand new home,
  both girls, instead of pulling straws
   sleep with me
    on a king-sized bed
     with me sandwiched in the middle.

giggles, giggles, betwixt the sheets,
 ”go to sleep!” “stop poking me!”
  bring more giggles
   but even giggles soon get sleepy.

brandi is sound asleep on my right,
 nicole on my left slide to the edge,
  proclaiming, “I love to sleep near the edge.”

i curve one arm around nicole,
 holding her in before
  she falls like icarus
   into total darknness.

i lay awake, thinking of life,
 how some of us live near the edge
  taking risks, pursuing dreams, living
   outside of little white boxes,
    often teetering on one foot.

only in childhood do we know,
 someone’s arm is always there,
  holding us in from over the edge.

and this is how it ought to be
 when we are young and trusting
  in our parents’ home.

A local author and poet, Frances H. Kakugawa’s works include Kapoho, Mosaic Moon, and Wordsworth Dances the Waltz. She received a Ka Palapala Poʻokela Award for her keiki book Wordsworth the Poet.

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