PoetryIssue 04 | April 2009

Three poems by Hali Sofala

In the House of My Fathers

My grandfather whispered words in my ear
that I did not understand.  They were words
of his land, Samoa.  I had traveled to this place
so that my grandfather could see me live
outside of a picture frame.  His thin stick fingers
felt my face and found a burrow in the hair
I hated:  too wiry, too frizzy, too Samoan.
His skin sagged on his bones as if he wore
another mans russet colored coat by mistake.
Strong shoulders rounded like worn away mountains
into arms that hung like two dead fish
for sale on the roadside.  I looked away
to the pink bougainvillea that crept into the open
windows.  Lagi, he spoke my name in a thirsty
croak.  I looked, for the first time, at his face—
at his eyes—they shimmered like sunlight
off the Pacific.  They told me the body
was no marker for the soul.

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About the author

Hali Sofala is currently teaching and working on her thesis at the University of Wisconsin, Madison where she pursues an MFA in English/Creative Writing. Her work here describes the first trip she took to Samoa, the birthplace of her father. It was in Samoa that she was confronted with her other half—a family she had never known, and a grandfather who was dying. She hopes to one day teach in Samoa or in any other country that will take her.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok