PoetryIssue 04 | April 2009

Three poems by Hali Sofala

Fa'a Samoa

Four o’clock creeps in slowly,
riding in on waves of heated air
that shoot up hills and deliver time
to Vailele on the ocean’s veranda.

In the village, the young men play cricket
or rugby as elders watch—longing to play
one more time, but shuffle feet instead—
their cleats pressed idly in soft, Samoan soil.

Volley balls bounce into fields of play, tanned
children dodge the older boys who chase rugby balls
and rugby dreams to black tar lines painted in the grass.

Through the air slices the sound of a steady breath
blown through a conch shell sending the deep thrum
across time—shaking us from waking dreams,
bidding us home.

Every house is sacred.  Prayers float
instinctively up—past geckos that crawl
on the ceiling and past the palms that curve

over the red tin roof.  Grandmother sings
out of key and out of tune, Fa’avae I Le Atua Samoa
eight o’clock leaves us with tomorrow—

a promise in the water—
as fleeting as floating seaweed—
as constant as the coral reef—
as momentary as the breaking wave.

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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