Crossing Pāpōhaku Beach

by Jim Kraus

Past the line of stones,
watch out for the kiawe, its thorns.
Then run across the hot sand

to the cool water,
its soft, long syllable,
line after line, vast ridges
of golden sand,
each grain now a unit of money.
Portable real estate,
the beach a mint to be mined and exchanged.

Sand bank.

As elsewhere, at Mokulē’ia and Waimea,
transformed into hotels and highways.

Sand taken, not given as gift.
Taken, not borrowed.

Yet such debts must be paid.
Mining sand at interest.

Some kind of usury,
“sin against nature.”

So here’s the blank shoreline,
And there’s a stick.
Be quick.
The tide is rising.


Jim Kraus has been published in Kinalamten Gi Pasifiku Anthology (Guam), Bamboo Ridge: Journal of Hawai‛i Literature and the Arts, Kentucky Poetry Review, and more. He served as Visiting Scholar at New York University; Visiting Fellow at the University of Texas at Dallas; and Visiting Fellow at Princeton University. Currently, he is Professor of English at Chaminade University of Honolulu.

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