Behold the many /

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Main Author: Yamanaka, Lois-Ann, 1961-
Format: Book
Published:New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006.
Edition:1st ed.
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Excerpted from Behold the Many by Lois-Ann Yamanaka. Copyright (c) 2006 by Jeff Lois-Ann Yamanaka. Published February 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved. Kalihi Valley 1939 T he valley is a woman lying on her back, legs spread wide, her geography wet by a constant rain. Waterfalls wash the days and nights of winter storms into the river that empties into the froth of the sea. In the valley, the rain is a gossamer cloth, a tempest of water and leaves. The rain is southerly with strange foreboding. The rain is northerly with cool rime. The rain glistens on maiden fern, the wind rustling the laua'e, the palapalai touching her there where it is always wet and seamy. The valley is a woman with the features of a face, a woman whose eyes watch the procession of the celestial sphere; a woman with woodland arms outstretched and vulnerable, a woman with shadowy breasts of 'a'ali'i and hapu'u, lobelias and lichens; a woman, a womb, impregnated earth. O body. When they find her, she is shiny, she is naked, she is bound, but for her legs, spread open and wet with blood and semen. Tears in her eyes, or is it rain? Breath in her mouth, or is it wind? Her thicket of hair drips into her mouth, sliced open from from ear to ear. She is pale green, the silvery underside of kukui leaves ; her eyes and lips are gray, the ashen hinahina ; her fingers and feet are white, the winter rain in this valley . O body. O beloved Hosana. Anah knows her daughter is dead at the very moment of her passing. She is sitting early dawn in the honey house, surrounded by the hum of the wild swarms outside. Then the dead of a strange silence. Light enters the room in a strand that illuminates the particles of dust, the luminescence of bees' wings. Hosana enters the room in a flowing orange dress. She stops where the sunlight stills. "Hosana?" Her daughter has been gone for weeks. Gone at fourteen with a man who called her beautiful. Gone to the other side of the island of O'ahu. "Remember always, Mother," Hosana says without moving her lips, "love is sweet." Honeybees move in the thick smell of the honey house. She follows her daughter's slow gaze around the room as if placing the honey bins, the amber-filled bottles, the broken smoker, the dust of kiawe pollen, wooden frames, the scent of nectar, and finally her mother's face in her memory. When the light fades, so does she. And then comes the wailing rain from a cloudless sky. Days of rain. Excerpted from Behold the Many by Lois-Ann Yamanaka All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.