Hospital Commute : Kamehameha Highway, O’ahu

No movement from the dome tent

in the beachside park.

Shirts hang headless from branches,

heavy from night rains.

Take the mini-bridge

over the lagoon,

and on the right,

a stream disappears

into the rain forest.

Just beyond the lagoon,

there’s the  house with a 180 degree

ocean and mountain view.

It’s mud trampled yard is littered

with rusted car carcasses, a kitchen sink

and no trespassing signs.

The distant surf

looks like low clouds.

Two rock islands hold down the horizon.

The sea always salts the air here,

but you notice it more in the dark.

A concrete pillbox on the bluff

guards the expanse of green valley behind it.

You have to slow down to read the sign

on the barbed-wire and wood fence

reward for information about anyone

interfering with free roaming livestock.

An archway of violet and fuchsia bougainvillea

in the rearview mirror

frames a postcard view

of white sand and pacific blue

—somehow more alluring

when you’re driving away from it.

Follow the road as it winds into shade,

sheltering a flower and fruit stand

with flaming torches of ginger

sprouting from white plastic buckets

and boxes overflowing with pineapples, mangoes,

mountain apples and sugarcane.

The evening air is cooler along here―

ripe, pungent.

Slow down for the yard that is packed

to each corner

with upside-down blue trash cans.

Notice the Hawaiian cocks

claiming their turf on top of them,

the mangy dog rigid at the end of his 3 foot rope,

just outside his dilapidated doghouse.

At night spotlights light up the yard.

Next, you’ll see a makeshift fence

of wood and twine

encircling a half-made outrigger

balanced on criss-crossed sticks

its final planks yet to be fitted.

And ahead on the left,

grazing on a lawn

that dissolves into the gravel

of this street,

the horned cow

with its companion white egret

on its back.

Getting closer to town now,

before the turn off,

you’ll see the two cemeteries,

the man on the lawnmower

churning grass and worms.

And without fail,

every morning,

the fresh mounds of dirt.

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2 thoughts on “Hospital Commute : Kamehameha Highway, O’ahu

  1. 1/2 hawaiian style driving directions, 1/2 portrait of the island- -honest and poetic account of paradise, warts, dirt, and all.
    Been missing home, thanks for the post 🙂
    Kailua girl

    • Glad to hear my descriptions passed the muster of local girl! 🙂
      I envy your island home in paradise. (I LOVE Kailua – spent 3 months there while my Dad was in Castle Medical Center after his stroke, the subject of my memoir Counting.)

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