3 poems

by Sierra Jacob

 

In Memoriam

I used to believe stone mounds in the sugar fields marked graves
of old Hawaiian kings; red rocks raised out of hula-armed cane.
As a child I wanted to see ancient dead braced up on forearms,
as field workers paced heavy machinery across bald earth. I still
misremember. I forget this land is infertile, these stones pocking
the throat of the valley like cremation beads, enshrine a generation
of hands. Trades are stirring green whirlpools down Haleakala
highway. Everything seems smaller, closer, coated with sweet

sugar ash. Like white chickens picking in grass, memories
skirt at the edge of each look. I forgot how Charlie Young fills
with red stained visitors after December. Their large ABC store
umbrellas, all the same. How each tropical print lounge angles
across sand, back to the ocean: waves folding, turning
over, long inhales
of water cliffing the white shore
into sheer drops.

The new diagnosis: my grandmother in early stages
of Alzheimer’s and all I can think about is our summer
at Indian Rocks—grey cranes picking at clams burrowing deep
after tides retreat; the blue heron, silver shadow of the fisherman; bait fish
glittering in after-light as he casts; boundary blurring with skyline, a slow slipping,
                                                                             a loose buoy dragged out at dusk.
                                                                

Danger by Thomas Gillaspy
Danger by Thomas Gillaspy

 

Kahakapao Reserve

I come back to Kahakapao like a sinner
returning to penance. Retracing the loop
without pleasure. Last weeks
windstorm has wreathed
newly green eucalyptus beneath
my hard soles. I don’t know if it is the warm day
or my passing that unearths
            sharp clean between misplaced guava
            a single homing pidgin nodding in the dirt
            the diagonal white cut of a fallen tree.
I can’t tell if it is shallow root systems
or unrelenting red clay that has brought this forest
to its knees.
Or both.            Or maybe we could blame
gusting from the south,
pushing against what is fixed,
is unforgiving.

Someone built a small fort            up out of the wreckage
but I will remember the construction as my own:
            hauling downed foliage
            finding its center
            moving to rebuild.
And after, leaving my hands to smell.
Letting the trail of severed wood
and torn cellulous follow each gesture
                                                                        for days.
                                                  

Untitled by Elena Botts

 

Reflection Along Halenanui

after sheeted lava
fields and formations
we called “god’s thumb”
and “eel rock” the high
baleen cliffs of
Kapalaoa whale tooth marks
the rim of the crater the deep
mooing of buff winged
Nēnē has been absent
all day wind
drawing out our tired
voices the only sound
after four years
the park cabin is exactly
the same except we noted
the removal of primrose
and dandelion for blue
silver bunch grass
the invasive somehow missed
we missed it
the suggestion of green
the invitation of a blossom
how in 1941
after Japanese
displacement
and internment
she was moved to write:
here in a world without
color I cannot recall
seeing a single vase
wildflowers were prized
in New Mexico

and how I am moved to write
in some type of mirror
an equivalent
to understand
but I can’t
find shadows in this nightfall
the womb of Pele
slowly dimming
slivering cinder
the leafed spokes of native
`Āhinahina
catch light and reflect
the jellyfishing of stars