Bright heat. The little fish shine
beneath the waves. I was born in Bikini, and I long
to go back.
They loaded us onto the ships, we watched from the decks as the houses
burned. We waved to the burning houses, the
trees, the beach, the gardens and graves. We were told
that soon we could go back.
Then, twice, there was a blinding flash. The first cracked
the sky. The second turned the ocean inside out. And
something that was always there, but behind, slipped
through--a strange, long-necked cloud with a roaring
But we were safe, we were told, far away from home.
One island in the middle of nowhere was like another island in
the middle of nowhere.
Once we lived on Bikini, but we cannot go back.
I grew up in Hawaii during the years of nuclear testing out in the Pacific. Much of my work now is focused on what happened then and how it affects where we are going now. At present I am on the faculty of Oberlin College, where I co-direct the Creative Writing program.