Pele taptaps ash
on lava waves, stubs skyholes,
exhales clouds and earth
When I ordered seaweed at the Odiruko, in Waikiki, Mike paused. He checked my order. Then he asked where we were planning to travel in Hawaii. We told him we were going to The Big Island. He paused again and said, ‘You are going to an island that is a goddess.’ He came from The Big Island.
Then he told us about Pele. He said that if we saw a Hawaiian woman hitchhiking at night, to not stop, as she might be Pele, the goddess of the island, who often appears to travellers, especially just before the volcanoes erupt. We wanted to see Pele, and though we didn’t, I think we felt her. In Hilo every few minutes the sky weeps. There is not much difference between air and water, it is so humid.
We asked where it was good to swim in Hilo, and Chris said, ‘Oh just out there, in the Cold Pond’, pointing out the window. The Cold Pond is a volcanic crater so deep it is biting cold, and we swam from the warm sea, into it.
Pele smokes. I imagine her taking a drag, watching, a frangipani in her cloudy hair. She’s been known to ash her cigarette in a crater, just before the next eruption begins.