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, bobbing with the waves,
and my father thinks it is
there for him.
Listen, I tell him, that ship is all in your mind
but he counters, You see it too—
and it’s true, I see it, pale and shifting
like Molokai sands.
My father remembers battleships in flames
and torpedoes flying over the Koolau.
He sees a young girl pin a hibiscus
behind her left ear
as she descends the stairs.