In the shade, he sat enjoying his shave ice
under a banyan tree, the sound of waves
rolling on, the wrinkled ocean surface
humming a calming rhythm of cool
while the sun beat down hell around him.

Global warming, he thought, remembering
the days growing up when he could walk barefoot
everywhere on a hot day and not have to hop
or scurry across blacktops and sidewalks,
and saddest of all for its nostalgic loss,
the long white beaches where he’d lounged
before sunscreen came on the baking scene,
and high-noon sand strolls were easier to stand.

While he sat sucking down the spoonsful
of sweet syrup and melting ice, he noticed
a small bird struggling on the street, unable
to fly, he thought, the poor little thing
limping fitfully across the hot asphalt.
Stepping out of the shade and onto the street,
he scooped up the bird, a sparrow it was,
the common kind disappearing as escaped
exotic breeds, finches and such, grew legion
on O’ahu, crowding out the older, wilder types.

He set the bird down beside him, felt good about
his gesture, and thought to take it home to nurse
back to health, then finished off the shave ice,
tossed the rubbish in a nearby can and stooping,
scooped up the little bird again, it no longer
struggling in the heat, but lying still now in the shade.

Talk story

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