Definitions of mo ʻ o 1-3 1. Shapeshifting water protector, lizard, woman, deity 2. Succession, series, especially a blood line 3. Story, tradition, legend About the e ffects of s hedding s kin O ur grandmother speaks plainly. She lives in a small cottage in Hā ʻ ō ʻ ū, where Uncle B learned to climb coconut trees be cause had to find food and Aunty O didn 't speak for days because had to choose . In H ā ʻ ō ʻ ū there is uphouse and downhouse. Relatives die in downhouse. Next to her bed grandmother hides her medical weed in an Altoids tin. Like her granddaughters, the joints we actually smoke come from town. The wine in our red solo cups comes from town. The Costco tents, mosquito nets, deluxe coolers organized by meats and drinks. Only the rope comes from Hā ʻ ō ʻ ū. In plastic folding chairs, we listen to grandmother talk about shedding. And for the dark pit of her mouth, we have reverence. How she can stretch a no like a cobweb in her throat , and we stunned insects dangle. Does it always hurt like this , we ask. The black O her mouth makes tells us our land has changed forever. I remember a dream of grandmother 's mouth snapping a yellow bird between her jaws. Skin hurts. Downhouse trembles. What do you think happens after? You think skin stays skin just because it was skin to you? Dangling, dangling. What hurts? Show me where. All the rope in Hā ʻ ō ʻ ū is waiting. Show me. Only ten fingers, where do we point ? The hurt is origin story . And spreads. For some families, their evidence is blood. Our family , graves clean, our family is skin. Stop scratching. No longer children because we asked, Does it always hurt like this? Welcome to the gut house Outside a door in east Maui, a brindled dog sits. No cars drive the dirt road. No child appears with food to share or ask for. There is only inside, today. A telephone cries, and to each caller, a grandmother chirps, Aloha. God bless you . In a corner bedroom, a girl is kept in bed , s ur r ounded by mosquito nets & women who take turns binding her wound. Miles of violence in their eyes, they know how to speed through marrow. They know scars & stars, two thing s a woman should never count in relation to her body. The number of names, maybe , wired around her stomach. The number of stomachs opened like doors and not so much cleaned as cleaned of secrets. Yes, there is something better than the heart. A whirring sent deep in the body. Like a girl in a house. You are finally home. No glorified organ, no heroic heart. Only guts. Viscera. Ask any Hawaiian. Drive the dirt road, follow my grandmother's voice. She will bless you. My aunties & cousins, their long fingers pinned to the walls, they point the way to a corner bedroom, this poem. My sister is closing the mosquito net. I am pooling in a bed of gauze. New versions of the Bible will use the word "heart." Ask any of us where it really hurts. Even my grandma, god bless you. Ask the brindled dog guarding my stomach. Mo ʻ olelo i s the t heory for Hauwahine & Kahalakea y ou splashed the water & flew the birds vanishing before a different clan could follow you a t Kawainui they stopped to disturb your lovemaking & lurk I'm still splashing water still flying birds your descendent centuries later unseen unanswered we never asked them watch us yes please swallow us like wat er we never splash ed for them even the birds know where we vanish they can't follow Excerpted from National Poetry Series Winner 2021 by Tbd All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.