This is the night I touch you on the back
of my brother’s flatbed after the men pull
the cord and the smoke thins to nothing.
This is the aftermath of the feast
when the boys hit maria straight off the stem
and shred Gem Clear bottlenecks
to thin strips, tying them into rings
and wristbands. I think of nothing
when the girls pick up plumerias
they dropped during the stomp dance.
They undo their hair braid by braid,
but I think of nothing. I won’t look at you now
but know the path you might take.
I know it’s nowhere near the time
to start singing. I know you’ll loop a finger
through the thatch in your basket.
You might find a comb or a bottle of oil.
I know how this goes. If I hear anything,
it’s the small plane’s single engine going above
the bare rock on Wittapong. I have no right
to be here. You’ll walk barefoot when you circle
your way to my side. We have until the tide
pulls away to finish what you started.