Adele Ne Jame – IV
Why Fiji, Why Anywhere
Somehow here you are
flying Nandi to Taviuni—
two hours cinched in a two-seater
bobbing up and down in the air
like a dragonfly over water—
so low it seems you are nearly
skimming the shallows of
a glittering olivine sea, light fracturing
water and reef wildly in the sun.
Then suddenly the pilot powers up
with a hard left into an inlet
gaining altitude and weaving
between mountain ridges
as if we have left our bodies entirely.
In minutes we are again edging a rugged coastline—
and leveling off. You hear the engines strain on
until we bank into the wind and
land—bouncing roughshod on a dirt strip
in the middle of nowhere—
But with the still loud whirring of the propeller
you instantly know you want to be back up
there in the boundless sky just as
your father had been –in all the photos—
young man half-draped out of
the cockpit of his biplane
mapping New Guinea from the air—
as far away from Beirut as he could get –
from all the losses of the great war
but then— never far enough,
his family and so many millions gone—
their hearts failing on the road to nowhere.
But in the clouds the weight of loss lifts
like helium and you forget
for a moment how it piles up—
one generation to another
is lodged in blood and bone—
how it hangs in the air above the Chouf –
heavenly forest in the snow fringing
the red sky there –the argon of
our brief and common lives mingling
in our lungs, our breathing
beyond time in the shining light,
in those racing clouds circling the Earth.
Later that night on the Mundaca—
sleek black seventy footer in remote Vianni Bay,
the only other vessel in sight is Wind Pony—
to set sail for Vanuatu at dawn.
You sit under the sagging tarp long hours
with Kate and Joe in the dark humid air
and with the relief of simply nothing
except their sailing stories and a fine cabernet.
We study the stars, the Southern Cross
overhead – Venus never far in this hemisphere,
they say—such heavenly designs.
All that and the constant sound of waves
slapping broadside, the comfort of the vessel,
even when anchored, still moving.