Craig Santos Perez

Craig Santos Perez is an indigenous Pacific Islander poet from Guåhan (Guam). He is the author of five books of poetry and the co-editor of five anthologies. He teaches at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.




Rings of Fire Sonnet During the Pandemic
(September 2020) 

We celebrate our daughter’s third birthday
during the hottest September in history.
My parents Facetime from California,
where fire is harvesting four million acres
of ash. “I visited grandma today,”
my mom says. “The orange sky scared her.”
Flames flood brazil’s wetlands
as europe’s largest refugee camp smolders,
granting the charred asylum.
“We might have to evacuate tomorrow,”
my mom says, but tonight we open gifts, sing
& blow out the candles together.
Smoke trembles, as if we all exhaled
the same combustible wish.


Echolocation Sonnet During the Pandemic
(September 2020)

                        for the orca, J35, and her child, J57

Today, you birthed another calf. I imagine
you both swimming a thousand nautical miles
until every wave becomes an ode, until the sea
is a wet nursery. How do you translate
“congratulations” in your dialect of whistles?
What is joy but our shared echolocation?
My second daughter was born three years ago,
premature, but now chubby & strong.
I cook salmon for our dinner and pray
that your pod has enough to eat.
We haven’t been to the beach in months
due to quarantine, but you remind us:
hope is our most buoyant
oceanic muscle.