Anne Kennedy


What Fell

for Temuera

It was Fall in the Tropics or what
they call Fall. Nothing fell.
Every leaf a last leaf
painted onto a wall.
Memories settled gently
onto the array of islands.
Learning American-as-a-second-
language the boy asked, What falls?
Well, mist falls on the hills of
Honolulu. Rain falls.
Fumes fall on Downtown.
The pens of the students
of Noelani Elementary
land on the page and each morning
their hands fall onto their hearts
in allegiance to the flag.
The school day flutters slowly
downwards towards hometime.
Planes fly in from LA bringing
everything. The sun sinks
quickly below the horizon
leaving a green lip like
a mussel.
The Hep B shot fell
into the boy’s arm. Ouch!
The rising inflection of sentences
was inverted to become
a falling.

Once people from the Continent
of America fell, fell, down into
the Pacific bringing their prized
sicknesses—ouch!—and their homesickness
for Fall and in their agony
they called nothing falling
or at least a few things falling Fall
even though leaves fell gradually
throughout the year
without fuss or comment.
Of course, there was The Fall
which is perhaps what they
really couldn’t live without.
And going right back, that time
the sun exploded and the fallout
created the solar system
its stars and planets
and the animals on the land
and the fish in the sea
the thoughts in our heads
and the living and the dead
rising and falling.




Author’s Note


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