Sai Pe, Malo by Sisifa Lui

Dear Parents,

You ask, “How are you?”

I pose myself with the same question

 “How am I?”

I pray.

I pray the pain that comes with my name will slowly subside.

I pray.

I pray my name will be remembered, if, in this world, my body no longer resides

I pray,

Within those stained glass walls that echo holy tunes

I pray,

Will one day echo solutions to why my throat suffocates at the grip of holy scriptures, you preach but do not  practice.

I pray,

God, help me, for I don’t even know how I truly am.

You tell me, “maybe you’re  “sick.”


I am sick of being sad.

Does being sad equate to being sick?

I can be excused if I’m sick

But I can’t say it’s because I’m sad

Maybe, I am sick.

Maybe, I’m possessed.

Maybe I’m depressed.

You pass me the Bible as though it’s Psalms are


I pray,

these verses will not heal me

and as if you hear my words, use yours to bruise me.

A punching bag I am,

For your words and hands.

Because if your words don’t reach me

Then maybe your fists could teach me.

You say “You’re Tongan”

I am Tongan,

But not in the way you want me,

I pray,

Why do I not have the strength they say runs through my veins?

I am not strong enough to seal my internal thoughts

I am not the seat of Tu’i Tonga.

I am not the vessel carrying the blood of Christ.

I cannot whisper to seashells hugging our shores

and I was too lazy to build the Ha’amonga.

But I am a Ngatu pattern, unwritten.  

However, you have written for me a narrative

I must pretend to be.

You ask “How are you?”

I say “Sai pe, malo.”

4 thoughts on “Sai Pe, Malo by Sisifa Lui

  1. Deep and powerful. Really important that we nurture an environment where our Tongan youth can express how they truly feel and not feel “laupisi”.


  2. This is amazing and well said very meaningful. Look forward to your next one and great work. Hope your message will reach out to the people.


  3. This made me tear up. I read it a couple times and it was different each time. This is very layered and reflective of how a lot of us Tongan youth feel at times. Great work Le’o!


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