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  • Mauatua Fa’ara-Reynold

Unfinished Ritual

Words by Mauatua Fa’ara-Reynolds

The fabric of our skin was paperbark.

Unravelled my tapa to unravel

your tapu. Phrygian shepherd welcomed

to te ao mā. Wrapped in our bodies’ rind

so we can unite under one membrane —

Then our portals between Heaven and Earth

became glory holes. Forever tapu.

Bougainville comes and comes and comes again.

You watched Lilo and Stitch last night, and thought

of my thighs. It’s summer, so I wore a

pareu and you said easy access.

Don’t take my top off, you’ll take my skin too.

Although, I never had skin to begin.

Dear God, dear Hina, I’ll never be mā.


Mauatua Fa'ara-Reynolds (she/they) is a Tahitian/Norfolk Islander studying at VUW. She currently works as a staff writer at Salient.


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