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February 4

In the elevator
without provocation

a man began
to recite

all of Rumi’s
The Guest House

breathless
and done

by when we reached
the top of the hospital

every morning
a new arrival 

a task to stay
as steely

as the stainless
doors the same

face presented
to every floor–

closed.
Some momentary 

awareness comes
the body also

a form of conveyance
and pain its sharpest tone

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January 18

All these words are easy
to write: In the grove,

purple orchids delve into air,
a
t night, the squat palm by the door

is a fistful of feathers.
But you, mi amor—

Bird calls bubbling, water
around a drain, even inland

from Hanelei the world is water, 
breezes like rain among fat

rubber leaves. 
I sit and watch
stray cats prowl beneath

the lanai like soft gray
afterthoughts, impervious

to my calls. All day, big waves,
heard even from the taro fields.

Some things remain
comfortably beyond me.

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January 11

Napali coast so easy
on the eyes hills softened

by mist waves blunted
by distance except

sometimes falling
like a rifle shot a retort

and then that silence
that so underscores

the drama that
preceded it high surf

warning we watched
it glut dry coves appetites

whetted for destruction
the ocean rampant

avenging and we argued
about the height of the waves

breaking far offshore
and if any were whales

and it may be tempting
to think clarity

with distance but in fact
that is wrong

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January 9: Revisiting July 31

Hope clinging tenaciously
like the burrs on the carpet
on the floor of this beach house,

small impalers, causing us to jump
and curse loudly despite children
sprawled everywhere,

not mine.
We spoke in French,
they said those birds

we saw were not pelicans
but I insisted they were,
these the birds of my childhood

of all my coasts.
Then grown tired
of conjugating tenses

and drinking wine
I just sat silent, listening,
imaging the next day’s drive.

Leaving early,
I woke before dawn,
the house still sleeping,

went down to the beach
where an eagle faced the sea,
faced into the wind

as did I, and it sang,
a chirpy warbling thing
unexpected from a raptor’s beak.

A lone pair of fresh tracks
made straight for the tide line,
a coyote, must have turned,

and only recently out of sight.
On my way out I saw one
of everything,

in the dunes, a velvety buck,
much later a doe, and another
coyote who leaped across

the road and dove into
a field of cranberries,
unaccompanied,

and I think it’s funny
the hardest things to let go
of are the things

I never had,
just hoped for

 

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