After the storm the whitened limbs
of the sea-sucked trees stuck in the reef
catch your eyes more than
the thousands of others strewn on land
after that day and night of the sky
as a limb of the murderous sea
pawing over us, its hind legs
raking the beach, the screaming.
An open ocean storm upset with
the prospect of shores
and land its meat. And trees.
Ko’s exploded and Nofo’s disappeared.
The laundromat in Malaeimi left its
washers sitting on a concrete slab
Sometimes Ms. Nature just won’t take oh
for an answer. Why is it everything
looks burned by her breath?
Such a kiss
makes anyone’s knees weak, so helpless.
And in Malaeloa like a metaphor
come to deliver the yachties from
the cliché of their reality, a fragrant
mulch of shredded jungle leaves fell
a soft green rain on the harbor
while roof irons sliced through the
other, upper air—an argument that
wasn’t theirs, a domestic tiff
between the natives’ deities.
We stayed up all night and listened
to Rilke’s angels sing whosit’s kaddish,
the chorus running its fingernails down
the blackboard of night. We got stony
still and ever so insignificant,
the children never out of our reach.
Any end should come in such a roar,
something twin beyond description,
a possession by 50-foot seas,
another tree downed in the bush
and swept by common magic
back to mama ocean.
Strike the stone the phone rings
around towards the back where
the houses are all blown down and
strike a match in the night
there’s nothing there but concrete
beneath your feet a few inches
off the ground and weeds all around.
Take a piss it’s pitch black
when you piss on the weeds
you can suddenly smell them in
the dry wind with all the palms
snapped near the top you can
see the ocean from just about
anywhere and the women are still the same.