My father remembers ancient banyan trees.
He sees ghosts in the tall temple grass,
smells rain on abandoned sugar cane.
He watches the ocean and waits.
Lately, he sees a tall ship in Honolulu Harbor,
silent and crewless,
and my father thinks
it is there for him.
Listen, I tell him, that ship is only in your mind,
but he counters, “You see it, too”
and it’s true, I see it,
pale and shifting like Molokai sand.
My father remembers battleships in flames,
torpedoes flying over Ko’olau mountains.
He remembers a young girl pinning hibiscus
behind her left ear as she descends the stairs.