September 10, 2014

Elizabeth Chapman

THE DAY IS THE ISLAND

and the island a man who loves you
hearing the ubiquitous chickens of Kauai
uncaged since Iniki wrenched them free
the rooster will begin at dawn

who loves you
setting a green chair under the ironwood tree
and drinking coffee there
the campfires have gone out

and the tide going out too he loves you
while you wait in the coconut wind for dawn
to complicate things

from Rattle #43, Spring 2014
Tribute to Love Poems

[download audio]

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Elizabeth Chapman: “‘Writing this on the train, I missed my stop’ was the title for the first draft of this poem, because that’s exactly what happened: A tropical breeze must have whisked me away from the Caltrain car I was riding back home from San Francisco. When I looked up from my notebook, the buildings of downtown Palo Alto were vanishing before my eyes. Leapt up, ran downstairs, and got off at the next stop, praying, as I dashed across the tracks, not to be caught and cited on the next northbound train for using an invalid ticket. All was well. Mahalo.”