this is a love poem

by richibi

from the lip of Diamond Head we’d be able
to see right down to Jevon’s pier, Greg said,
in a moment that seemed to him inspired
when he grasped it right out of the corner
of the room right in front of me, as I sat 
there on the bed pondering options
 
a trip around Oahu, our first and only other
choice, would’ve been expensive, even
excessive, and I’d already been around the
island before, which rendered moot the idea
that he’d offered with great gallantry, that for
me it would be a novelty, something I’d never
done, to add texture to our mission
 
instead of Rome at the last minute that trip
had seemed too impracticable, presenting
too many daunting obstacles  
 
I’d asked for an alternative, and right there,
again like an inspiration, he said Hawaii,
this time across from me on my sofa
 
 
Hawaii had seemed completely improbable
to me, and somewhat disrespectful at first,
but then Greg spoke of Jevon’s pier, Jevon,
his nephew, had died ten years earlier,
tragically, and way too young, and his
parents had scattered his ashes there,
a place Jevon loved, and to which his
folks returned every fall to winter
 
the death of Jevon had been Greg’s first
experience of death, its impact had not
receded, like love the experience of
death is indelible, and, of course,
transformative
 
 
Jevon’s mother had demurred at the
idea of superimposing even her own
parents’ ashes, when Greg inquired,
needing a form of absolution for what
he would have be a solemn act, over
the place where she’d thrust to heaven
her only son’s
 
her husband seems to have borne the
burden much more stoically, eschewing,
apparently, the need for metaphor
and rituals 
 
to Greg and I, the would-be pilgrims, her
wishes, their wishes, would be paramount
 
and any consecration cannot be blurred
by imprecision, or slight 
 
 
the first day we went to Jevon’s pier, at the
far end of Waikiki, beneath Diamond Head,
where the beach front becomes more
residential, Greg found the very spot where
he’d sat, cried, remembered with his sister
 
and the two of us facing east dipped our
feet in the ocean that spread to the distant
blue horizon, and beyond there to what we
could no longer imagine 
 
but we imagined nevertheless, and believed, 
that Jevon was there 
 
Greg had brought a couple of white
symbolic feathers, one for each of us,
to cast upon the waves in commemoration,
we read poems, we watched the feathers
drift to where we could no longer spot
them, the froth of lazy waves lapped at
our toes like kisses, I thought, from, of
course, God
    
 
Diamond Head might seem ovious now,
but there it wasn’t, though the elements
might’ve seemed to be all crying out for 
it 
 
Greg heard
 
I thought the idea resplendent
 
from Diamond Head these ashes, his
grandparents’, would look upon Jevon’s 
pier, like elders forever watching over
their child, Jevon would play, swim,
cavort, under their watchful gaze
forever and ever      
 
 
 
Diamond Head is apparently the remains
of an extinct volcano that created the
island of at least Oahu, other volcanos, I
suppose, created the several surrounding
others, the mouth of the crater is now a
tourist attraction, the front lip, the one
facing Honolulu and its beach, Waikiki,
is the highest part of the mountain, we
would be climbing there, reaching the
base by bus, then walking all the way
back
 
I am not wont to climb mountains, though
Greg averred that when he lived there he’d
climbed it several times, though we were
both much younger then
 
 
he sprang up the rocks like a billy goat, I
puffed, paused a lot, and panted, but would
not have not continued the trek though my
life depended on it, there are some things I
will not not
 
 
some showers softened our journey up,
like kisses again, I thought, a respite from
the teeming sun, and here and there a
playful and welcome and soothing breeze 
 
the tip was astounding, with a view of the
entire island, and the entire blue Pacific
lying before us 
 
 
any place of consecration must be sacred,
unhurried, private if not unpeopled, and
reasonably quiet, though thunder and
lightning, natural occurrences, don’t
count    
 
there’d been showers, nothing at all
threatening, and Greg had needed time
to unseal both urns, small decorative
pots that had sat patient on his mantel,
lit by candlelight, until this journey
 
I’d staked out a position at the very
edge of the mountain, a railing kept
us from straying dangerously too far 
 
I poured his mother’s ashes into his
cupped hands when he asked, held
on to the warm still, though empty
now, urn, he closed his hands upon 
this dust with the trust that this was
indeed his mother 
 
noises about, people too close for
undisturbed comfort, held his palms
shut, savouring, I thought, opportunely,
her remaining parts, but discreetly, for
it had to be done, letting drift some of
their powder through fingers that
sensed surely their embedded
memories   
 
then all was gone  
 
 
he’d had to smash his father’s urn to
get it open, it cracked into two parts
like a broken egg, some ash had fallen
to the ground, he dusted it up, picked
some up that could be returned to the
broken vessel  
 
I thought, it is all dust, it will all go
nevertheless to the earth
 
I held the broken bits while Greg prepared
his father’s ashes
 
 
but I couldn’t any longer properly see, the
shower had become no longer kisses but
drops that confounded my glasses, a mist
clouding further what I could see, God was
speaking to Moses on the mountain 
 
Greg cast his fist in the direction of the gust,
opened his palm, and let the rush of charged
particles furl into a darker knot, like swallows
during murmuration, then dispel like a vision 
into the indiscriminate other
    
 
later he cast the urns to a similar fate, and
a little plaster angel with a picture of his
mom on the back, the date, and probably
something endearing 
 
 
as we scuttled down the mountain jauntily,
cleansed, a mission faithfully and reverently
accomplished, the sun returned
 
on the way back I even looked for shade
 
 
Richard
 
psst: you might’ve wondered, how was I there,
        I am a friend, he’d asked 
 
 
 
 
 
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