Sue Cowing (2012 Poem In Your Pocket)

As I Was Passing Kaheka Street

by G. M. LaRiviere

The dapper Japanese tourist was
walking on the sidewalk
when death swished by him
and stopped short of his grave.

The dude must have felt the air rush by
as the hanging palm frond dropped
from the sky that close to his head,

a hefty stalk made deadlier by
the towering height from which it shed
halting his stride and blocking his path.

Just one step forward a half-second sooner
and his vacation in Hawaii might have ended.

His face strained for composure but I
could see the veiled terror move
across his orbs, glazing them over,
his skin blanching whiter,
still he kept it together his look
now pensive, replaying the grisly scene
with his nerves shredded. I saw

that his near miss was mine also,
and I wondered which saint he prayed to.

G. M. LaRiviere has lived in NYC, L.A., Monterey, and Japan as well as in Hawaii, her home. Her poems, which have won awards in poetry competitions, are mainly Hawaii poems. Late in life, after her father's death, LaRiviere learned of their descent from a samurai family. Coincidentally, research on a YA samurai novel which she had put on hold has been spurred on by this knowledge. Her completed ethnic novel, FROM NEW YORK TO WEST TOLUCA LAKE VIA HAWAII, took ten years to write. Look for an excerpt to be published in the forthcoming 2014 NWA Honolulu Chapter's anthology.



by Sue Cowing

A poem is a baby slowly forming
in the fluid inner world:
toes out of nowhere,
eyelashes out of heartbeat.
Like a dolphin, born tail-first
so it won’t drown
in a world of water.
Then someone, is it the mother?
nudges it to the surface, crooning
breathe now, breathe.


by Sue Cowing

At Kaʻena, fire and waterline up their stones


dull black lavaround white coral


for the island’s oldest kōnane gamemoves so slow


the stones are all we see.


Sue Cowing is a local author active in the Hawaiʻi literary community. Her latest work is a middle-grade novel You Will Call Me Drog. Birthday was originally published in Bamboo Ridge.

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