Pineapple Express

Worry descends before the rain,
remembering the last one—water,
water, so much water deluging our
arid selves, power outages and snow,
snow, deep blankets of snow, pristine
icing layers thick atop groaning roofs,
shoveling that doesn’t stop.

And now another atmospheric river
chugs up from Hawaii, the Pineapple
Express barreling toward us—warmer
rain to melt all that snow up the hill,
lots of water predicted for us below.
We hunker down, sit tight, wait.
And wait.

As the Express finally arrives,
spitting like a petulant child, I head
out on errands anyway, surprised
to see the pet food store deserted,
the single employee shivering—
heater’s out again—and to my
favorite local Mexican lunch spot—
good to see you!—alone, watching
watery trails stripe the large window.

Back at home, yes, rain, but no
ferocious wind yet, and, just to be sure,
I offer up prayers to La’amaomao,
the Hawaiian wind goddess, the keeper
of dozens of winds from soft to stormy.

Please, I entreat her, makani olu olu
fair winds, gentle, wafting breezes—
ones that do not rattle the trees
and leave us powerless.

All night, as the wind builds
to a ko’olau, the kind that chops
calm seas into treacherous peaks
and valleys, I whisper into the dark:
Calm down, ease up.

And in time it does, dead calm
by morning, wee bits of blue
piercing the gray, widening
by midday into a sunny grin.

More inclemency is on its way,
they say, but for now we’ll bask
under momentary fair skies.

Mahalo, I murmur to the gods.
Malama pono. Take good care.
Keep us all safe.

Photo: Salgu Wissmath / San Francisco Chronicle

About janishaag

Writer, writing coach, editor
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