Menehune Men



All around are the things he’s built.

The clean edge in the grass; the two-tiered


chicken-coop where mom’s darlings live;

the shelves that keep the hurricane water


cubed, stacked and dated. Keep
the memory of Iniki and the solutions to Iniki


within reach. Our whole house

has known his touch. Touch


of the water hose
that gardener’s, that cab driver’s,


that union man
and cane worker’s lasso. Our dads


built our homes in the night

since they built other men’s homes


by day. As it is told,

whatever stones did not make it


to the fishpond wall

by moonset


the Menehune men



and left there,
an unstacked cairn.

Kalani (they/she) is a Filipino-American and Kama’aina poet from Mililani, Hawai’i. Kalani is a Whitworth alumn of English (B.A.) and Theology (M.A.). Currently, Kalani tends home in Missoula, Montana — an MFA candidate, writing mentor, night baker and river rat. Kalani was the 2022 Hugo Fellow at the University of Montana, and the recipient of the 2022 Madeline DeFrees Prize for poetry. Their work appears and is forthcoming with Bamboo Ridge Press, and the Academy of American Poets.