Rachel Dacus


He arrived on our moldy lanai,
swept-up hair bedecked with a hibiscus.
An indeterminate pronoun
in an orange sarong, he kissed
us damply on both cheeks,
in air, a double cross. Introduced himself
as Pa'ula without looking us in the eyes,
he demonstrated the kahiko, a history in dance
of Hanalei Bay's fifteen kinds of rain.

Pa'ula's large, wide feet stamped
down the spade-digging torrents of aka-ula,
and his fingers petal-whisked hanini showers.
Undulant brown biceps
rippled up a sea spout
and a chant rose from proud throat,
belly-anchored, a cry to clouds.

But the eyes mourned as he broke
down each leaf-soft move
for our architect and teacher fingers.
He paired words with our white feet
as they tangled on themselves, sweat spraying.
Palm fronds on the beach thrilled
to his drum, but we woke
only the neighbors with our stamping.

Pau'la was surprised that we learned quick
as his keiki in school. He accepted cash,
but his hibiscus glared: an ancient eye
blinded by its own seeing.
That night, the water came drumming.
Green geckos frisked on the wood beams
as we dozed, woke, slept again.
Rattling sword leaves called out
to the sea's boom. Ripples ran
like children back to shore
and the storm danced outside the reef.
For three nights the skies,
praised even by haole hands, poured.

Location: Walnut Creek, California
Occupation: Staff member of the online poetry forum The Alsop Review / Fundraising consultant
Email: rachel@dacushome.com
Website: http://www.dacushome.com/
Publications: The Atlanta Review, Many Mountains Moving, Prairie Schooner, Small Spiral Notebook, Rattapallax, Stirring, Ravishing DisUnities: Real Ghazals in English (Wesleyan University Press, 2000), The Poetry of Roses (Abrams, 1995) and The Best of Melic (Melic Review, 2001)
Books: Earth Lessons (Bellowing Ark Press)

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