At Keoua Canoe Club, Honaunau Bay

by Edythe Haendel Schwartz

Pahoehoe lava shelf. Blue skies.
Wind on our tongues, we speak of her,
brace ourselves to meet each jolt of memory–
how her fingers could pull octopi

from holes. Wind on our tongues, we speak
of heart, of ribs the surgeons pulled apart
the way her fingers would pull octopi
from holes. Surgeons tried to fix the fault

bypass the blockage in her heart, its walls
of flesh a net let loose. Now we gather,
sing her home. Surgeons tried to fix the fault–
like stopping Kilauea’s flow.

Let loose from a trawler net–opelo, ono,
fish we grill to toast her life. Crests soar
in the bay, roar like Kilauea’s flow.
Smell the fire, smell opelo, ono,

fish we grill to toast her life. Crests soar
over lava rocks. There she’d sit,
shuck urchin shells. Swift as beaks
her fingers offered urchin shreds to keiki

kicking balls on lava rocks. There she’d sit
above the sled of coral, spray lacing
fingers loosing shreds of urchin meat
for keikis’ waiting tongues. She will meet

with others on the sled of coral–
human, sea star, tang, and honu.
She, who shared with keiki shreds of urchin
meat, will write with ashes on the sea.

Human, sea star, tang, and honu
sink below pahoehoe lava shelf.
She will write with ashes on the sea
with fingers that pulled octopi from holes.


Edythe Haendel Schwartz is the author of two poetry collections, A Palette of Leaves, Mayapple Press, 2012, and a chapbook, Exposure, Finishing Line Press, 2007. Her poems have appeared widely in journals and anthologies, including Faultline, Calyx, Cave Wall, Earth’s Daughters, Colere, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Spillway, PMS, Natural Bridge, Poet Lore, Potomac Review, Cider Press Review, Blueline, Naugatuck River Review, Thema, Amoskeag, and Water-Stone, among others.

1 Comment

Filed under Poetry

One response to “At Keoua Canoe Club, Honaunau Bay

  1. Love it! Great stuff! You’ve got my follow. Check out my comedy blog and give it a follow if you like it!

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