collage illustration with yellow bar, part of red-orange flower; bird perching on branch
Gabriela Pesqueira / The Atlantic; Getty

Magpies fly from branch to branch. In the slow
tide of the afternoon, you sleep in my arms;
we drift to shore, as sea turtles beach;

the ocean surf breaks; an incoming
wave foams up on sand then subsides.
Stepping into daylight after weeks of smoke,

we smell rain before it begins to rain;
in the open garage, we exude an aroma
of juniper bark, roll a Ping-Pong table

into place, and, lowering the legs, stretch
the net, volley. Sending a white ball
back and forth, back and forth, we sway

in season. Now we stride into a sloping lava tube,
and water drips in the dark. As we emerge
into rain forest, an ‘apapane flits

among branches; sunlight dapples our eyelids;
we follow a path that splits into many
paths as leaves on ‘ōhi‘a trees shimmer.

This poem appears in the October 2022 print edition.