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Some Places Wait: Ke'anae Peninsula.

so old some of these graves
plots of loose 'a pele with no markers
who has found peace
and who minds my step
cautious between them

the few headstones have early names
Ka'auamo Hueu Pahukoa Nakanelua
dried maile draped over them
and plumeria plastic lei
descendents living in town
no work out here

ti leaf rises like kahili
next to Tonka trucks rusting on a cement slab
over a four-year-old from the '70s
the small photo blurry of a boy

Uncle Harry Mitchell's headstone
granite 1990 still shiny
he had to go knowing
Kimo's remains were somewhere at sea
with George
for the bombing to stop

Lanakila 'Ihi'ihi o Iehowa o na Kaua
Victorious Sacred Jehovah of the Wars
the whole village washed away
1946 the tsunami
left this small church standing

a steep corrugated roof
amplifying the sound of rain
walls of pahoehoe and coral mortar
speckled with lichen
seem bolstered deep into the earth

some places wait for us
though we don't want to know

the door open I go inside
how so dark and spare
and a chill
rafters of 'ohi'a lehua
pews burdened with generations of pleas
one window has a hole big as a fist

mighty white God
punishing and male
were you merciful

reach brown people reach through the reef
for His supremacy
throw your gods and demi-gods to the sand
lower your eyes
as preaching hands take the land
your children named in the white words
salt spray is drying across your back

the blue so deep
waves crashing against pillars of lava
jagged black arms in mid-air
staggering ancestors
frozen in sand
does the pounding echo your name
they remember no one else
if you look too long
they are walking in from the sea
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Article Details
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Author:Thomas, Delaina
Publication:Bamboo Ridge, Journal of Hawai'i Literature and Arts
Article Type:Poem
Date:Sep 22, 2013
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