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Adele Ne Jame-l

The Mountain Makes the Weather

Haleakala, Maui



You see the leaves of the koa tree

outside our cabin catch the light—


shine beautifully—

those heavy, blade-like clusters hanging in the air—


even though it seems the cloud cover is

unrelenting. Yet, late in the day, every day,


beyond the wild guava trees,

the stumbling moths, the light begins


edging the West Maui mountains and

spreads finally over the sea at Maalaea


where the tall windmills line up down slope,

white blades twirling—


white, they say, to save the Shearwaters

and the Hoary bats–the Nene geese


that would tangle up in their power.

You wish every day, like Hina,


that sun would linger above this mountain

for a long time—you want explosions of light


and heat hurtling everywhere—

You would make any sort of deal


to cut the grey canopy in half.

But the gods don’t take to bargains often—


and if they do, they are fastidious about scales,

an exact accounting.


Just yesterday near our cabin, under a koa tree,

when we buried our dog of nine years,


his life cut short suddenly by half,

I watched Frederic shovel dirt


in the harsh winter wind, make a deep

and perfect square in the dry earth,


a grown man weeping with every spadeful—

doing what little can be done


when the wind tunnels down Crater Road

waves of it breaking the tallest eucalyptus branches,


shivering the strongest trees—

Even the towering stately pines


quivered madly around us

under our half of a dark and unforgiving sky.