Thicker than water

Text Brenda Kwon

To move in water is to move without limit;
unbound by gravity, you glide and turn
with the ease of creatures
whose moment-to-moment existence escapes
the tiled floors, well-worn carpets,
the waxed surfaces that now pave your days.
It is no wonder in sleep you gasp for air.
At the end of summer, there is no breeze—
trapped in thick, humid air,
your mother enumerates the things she loves.
It was in her belly you first learned to float,
she, your tether to an earth-bound world.
Now she prepares to take her leave,
her body quieted by the cancer of women who give too much,
and in these moments you crave with untold longing
the watery innocence of your formation,
mourn your body’s denial of liquid grace
as cars collide, trains derail,
streets and sidewalks lock us into lines and crossings.
If only we could move like particles of waves,
all directions open for the price of a breath,
fluid density all but erasing the impact of blows.
Each time your steps lift from sand to sea,
immersion recalls your very creation,
the rightness of suspension when you shared one body,
the sea around you a tangible promise
that when the time comes for you to emerge
she will cherish your breaths,
sweep your cobwebs,
drink your sighs,
and cushion your sleep,
that no matter how far you stray from her touch,
you will feel the echo of her tether,
less constraint than her reminder of how you are never alone,
that even in the spacious depths of the universe,
in that windless place that carries no sound,
gossamer threads spin down to cradle you softly
while stars dance to her lullaby.


Summit is Hawaii's magazine of ideas and style for the global citizen. We're named for Queen Kapiolani's motto, "kulia i ka nuu," strive for the summit. Summit is available on fine newsstands throughout North America and the Asia-Pacific region.

2017 S King Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96826
Ikaika Hussey
Creative Director
Mae Ariola
Will Caron
Copy Editor
Karen Shishido
Assistant Editor
James Charisma