"Abolition is imagination work, anti-colonial struggle is imagination work, conjure work, science fiction in real time. It is daring to see that the world now did not need to be as it was, does not need to be as it is, and certainly, most importantly, need not -- will not -- remain this way." (Maynard and Simpson, 2022: p. 176)

n Rehearsals for Living Robyn and Leanne call us be fearlessly creative. They inspire us to dream, fight, and practice a radical vulnerability beside them as co-conspirators in struggle and resistance. In their brilliant book they model a resurgent reciprocity that invites readers into this shared practice at the center of a world making anti-colonial struggle. In response to their beautiful book, I would like to offer something creative and intimate of my own. Something I wrote for someone I love during a time of great struggle. Something I wrote as a part of a dream and a fight for the world she (and we) all deserve.

We knew we were liberated when we no longer feared for our daughters –

For my Daughter, Kaleiwohi ʻAʻahulīhauikalaʻikūokekuamauna

It has been raining for days

the kind where the sky turns grey

and you wonder if it’ll ever turn back

its 53 degrees in Hawaiʻi (which is really fucking cold, btw)

and my 6-week-old daughter is sneezing more than usual

my partner looked it up

some babies sneeze when they are cold

so i am holding them both a little closer than normal

which is pretty damn close

at night

i close the windows

i warp her in a lei of blankets

i say her name

out loud

remind her that she is loved

and safe

o wau no kou kiaʻi

I am your protector

i say

over and over until she will be ready to say it back

her mother and i wait to hear her fall asleep

and then we settle into each other

this is the future we dreamed of, together

from the frontline of a movement protecting our mountain, our water, our peoples

and it is full of everything sweet, and beautiful, and tender

but we are no longer in a puʻuhonua

so it is also overflowing with everything i fear

the US navy is poisoning the water in Hawaiʻi

tens of thousands of gallons of diesel fuel have already spilled into our aquifer

250-million gallons remain in these WWII single wall degrading tanks

and the navy is refusing to drain and decommission them

even after admitting to the contamination

on Twitter and Instagram I see photo ops with “the best” of Hawaiʻi congressional leaders handing out bottled water and hotel vouchers to military service families

like band aids on a bullet wound

and for the first time in my life

i feel completely helpless

there is an invisible plume of poison working its way through our underground water systems

and the only people who know the exact extent of it

don’t give a fuck about us, our ʻāina and wai, and certainly think nothing of our children

in fact, while preparing a suit against our state for demanding they drain the tanks

the US navy insists: “It is not the fuel in the tanks, but the fuel in the water that’s making us sick”

let me say that again

“its not the fuel in their tanks, but the fuel in our water that is making us sick”

and i give no fucks about their lyrical gymnastics

there is no rewriting themselves out of fault

i want to ask them

how will i feed my daughter if all we have is jet fuel falling from the faucet

instead i start googling DIY home rain catchments

while i spin into a tornado of my own fear

i can only think about the decades our people have been calling to demilitarize our island

and how no one beyond our lāhui cared to listen

and now it’s the TV and twitter and Instagram all popping off

and the water is rising

and the Covid variants are multiplying

and there are guns and cops and cages everywhere

and my checking account is hemorrhaging money

and my daughter is crying

and it hasn’t stopped raining

it has been days

and it’s true, i used to long for these moments

a quality storm to quiet my house and mind

me in a corner with a pen and pad of paper

but today

i have a sneezing daughter in my arms

and i know that means she is cold

so i am holding her a little closer than normal

which is pretty damn close

and i can’t stop thinking about how little I can protect her

and now i know i am really a mother of a daughter

because i am made only of worry

and i am thinking about water

the wai that is now fuel

and the kai that is still rising

all around us

and the mud that is creeping closer and closer to my doorway

with each day that the deluge continues

and i am waiting for someone to come and hold me

to tell me i am loved

to say that at least for today the water is safe

i am waiting for someone to remind me that we too are worth protecting

like a mauna, like an island, like our ocean, expanding

i look into my daughter’s eyes again

o wau no kou kiaʻi

i am your protector

she says

first to the ʻāina, then to the wai, and finally to me

and for a moment

i can breathe again

because at the very least

malia and i did one thing right

we prepared one more wahine koa to take into battle

But i cannot help but think

is this really as far as we can dream?

Dr. Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio is a Kanaka Maoli wahine artist/activist/scholar/storyteller born and raised in Pālolo Valley to parents Jonathan and Mary Osorio. Jamaica earned her PhD in English (Hawaiian literature) in 2018 from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Currently, Jamaica is an Associate Professor of Indigenous and Native Hawaiian Politics at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Jamaica is a three-time national poetry champion, poetry mentor and a published author. In 2020 her poetry and activism were the subject of an award-winning film, This is the Way we Rise which premired at Sundance Film Festival in 2021.  In 2022 she was a lead artist and Co-writer of the revolutionary VR Documentary, On the Morning You Wake (To the end of the world), that premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2022 and won the XR experience Jury award at SXSW 2022. She is a proud past Kaiāpuni student, Ford Dissertation (2017) and Post Doctoral (2022) Fellow, and a graduate of Kamehameha, Stanford University (BA) and New York University (MA). She is the author of the award winning book Remembering our Intimacies: Moʻolelo, Aloha ʻĀina, and Ea which was published in 2021 by The University of Minnesota Press.