Koa

by Black Knox

And so they went Mauka in their four wheel drives
Jolting beyond the heat pitted lava crust ever higher into the cool canopy, limbs spreading above towering
Trunks
Swelling thick boughs
Remote Island in the midst of a vast
Slumbering blue
The only place on earth where one can still find these primordial trees, the Koa
And the Native Hapu‘u

Moss beards hang
Ancient tree shape looms in the mist
Iron roots grip, dig, gnarl, twist
Here lives the fair ōhi‘a and
Curly Koa Fist

Root, flake, and peel of bark
Pungent indescribable
Sap dark
Bone finger knobs lock
Striated curly Koa layers
Crack Rock

Oh Great Grandfather Tree of a thousand years!
Not to saw you down!
Not to make you fall
Not to climb you, crash you to the ground
So they can sell their million little
Guitars
Howl, Pray, Beat
Torch of human Desires

Not to drag you from your forest
Strum your dismembered pieces into primate hive’s teeming hums

I sit at your trunk this dark night
Shreds of cloud skittering past moon
Tutu Koa hulks in grandeur against the star strewn sky
The last night before they come to cut him down

Dawn brings warmth filtered forest light

Oh Brave Koa

Do your ancient leaves flutter and sigh
Under the shadow of the Io–
Hawaiian Hawk in the Sky?

I Hear him in the wind
I Hear him

Soar and Cry
Soar and Cry

 

Black Knox divides her time between California and the Big Island, composing poetry mostly on airplanes. 

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