Kalalau Beach
Florence Murry

Kalalau Beach

Under the Napali cliffs,
he split a mango open with his fingers.
Juice dripped from our arms.

This the end of a trail, the end of this charade—
            Just a little farther.
 Sweat shed into green-moss ground,

and boots slipped the loose silt for the two-day trek
and the eleven miles to Kalalau Beach.
Rigid and unstable, I grasped thin ledges.

Below, waves burst against jagged rock.
Hike over, I vaporized under Hanakapiai Falls,
his coral necklace too tight at my throat,

This is where I abandoned
my bare self, shed my skin,
where I recovered my bold child,

where I picked blueberries ripe on dust-filled vines.
This is where the ocean pulled me under,
where I surfaced and swam with, not against,

the rip tides that pressed me down.
The sea welcomed my broken and imperfect body,
tossed me, revived me, a polished stone.

At the end, we swam out to the zodiac
and hoisted over its rubber edge.
Silk salt soaked my crusted skin dry.

We rose and bumped with each swell,
our bodies snapped forward and spat out.
My arms around his waist, I pressed tight.

Bound away from rust-colored cliffs,
we pulled into a dark sea cave.
I let go on the ocean’s placid shoal.

Florence Murry

is the author of Last Run Before Sunset (Finishing Line Press). Her poems have appeared in Slipstream PressStoneboat Literary MagazineOff the CoastBluestem MagazineWestchester ReviewHole In The Head Review, and other journals. She lives and writes in Southern California.