I live for two months each winter
along an old Hawaiian path, through
a nineteenth century prince’s ranch,
cutting down a steep hill to Anini Beach.
The trail between a mile-long, double
row of knarled old euchalyptus trees
conveys a diverse scattering: of locals
wearing baseball caps and walking their
dogs, designer-dressed tourists sporting
new sneakers, and homeless people
in knit skullcaps, bearing fat backpacks.
Beyond our cottage, the trail suddenly
dives over the precipice into a tangle
of mangrove hiding a gurgling stream
that weaves a tumble of lava boulders
lost in perpetual twilight.
The leafy overhead canopy rises from
massive grit-brown limbs of aged mango
guarding this steep path. The plunging
escarpment feels like a jeep trail on steroids.
At the bottom, under spreading naupaka trees,
a rainbow of pup tents lines the narrow beach.
The lagoon stretches mirror-smooth to distant
breakers faintly rumbling on the edge of the reef.
Once the sun sets, snorkelers and locals depart,
leaving personas non gratis the million dollar
view of a moonlit bay and its overhead dome
of the brilliant Milky Way. Tourists and day
visitors don’t realize the campers are illegal
squatters. They light forbidden campfires
on the beach, smoke weed, and sample
the offerings of their unattached neighbors
overnighting on the darkened sands.
first published in Illinois State Poetry Society
also published in Poetry Atlas
©2013 Bonnie Manion