The leaves are crisp and brown

no different than the outstretched

maple hands of what we now call

The Old Country, The Mainland, not

Home.

 

Burning, plumeria smells the same

as oak, but doesn’t sting like cedar,

and the grounded flowers are not

airport-lei fresh, but pruned as

bathtub fingerprints.

 

This close to the equator the days

are halved, sunrise and sunset

at six and six, no leaping forward

no falling back, a cut or pasted hour

either way makes no difference

 

But the trades have come, fifteen

twenty MPH. The vertical blinds

clap in their frames until we

ribbon-tie them at their middles,

an approximation of double fans.

 

We freeze the chocolate the night

before,  light a candle in

the pumpkin hand-picked

at a repurposed pineapple field.

Costumed children beg in darkness

 

Yesterday, on the North Shore

a lifeguard was crowned

no king, no prince, by a ripe

coconut. On the Big Island ,

Pele pushed aside tin houses

and crossed the road.

 

The light’s aslant at ten and two,

at eight and four. Even here,

there are seasons: time to raze

the cane fields, to plant or harvest.

 

We’ll spend Christmas Windward

where the water is warmer,

lay  our rice mats down

in Ewa in the spring.

In summer at Waimea, we

will watch our toes wiggle through

glass-clear water, the sun, a dial,

two hands straight-up, noon-

bright all day

 

 

 


Tiff Holland is the author of the novella-in-flash “Betty Superman.” Her poetry and prose have appeared in The Mississippi Review, Frigg, Karamu and many other journals.