Garrett Hongo

On the Beach at Divi Bay, St. Martin
September 11, 2014 Hongo Garrett

On the Beach at Divi Bay, St. Martin


Was melancholy yesterday, watching slate-grey clouds

showering down while I lay in a cozy, one-man cabana.

I was inhabited by fine striations of grief, lamenting a loss,

bewildered and sorrowful at how it happened.

I thought of writing to the soul of Nazim Hikmet,

saying loving a woman was like writing a book–

you must do it every day and not forget it is love’s body

on which you write a page of kisses, turning it over

to smooth its shoulders, rubbing its crease with the blade of your hand.

Then, a sunshower hit and I saw the silvery alphabet of the sea

spell a god’s name on the frothing tail of a page of surf.

Garrett Hongo’s collections of poetry include Coral Road: Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 2011); The River of Heaven (1988), which was the Lamont Poetry Selection of The Academy of American Poets and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and Yellow Light (1982). He is also the author of Volcano: A Memoir of Hawai’i (1995), and he has edited Songs My Mother Taught Me: Stories, Plays and Memoir by Wakako Yamauchi (1994) and The Open Boat: Poems from Asian America (1993).