Many years later,
he watches her sleep
the white hair, hollow skin, frozen
lines dwindling. He can’t remember her laugh-

down at the boathouse by the Ala Wai
where dances were held every Saturday night.
So many parked cars they had to walk as far
as three blocks, but they could hear it
from that distance, the bass, the horns
taste the Latin notes as they held hands under
a copper sky hurrying toward the lighted pavillion.
Arthur Lyman’s band wailing as they stepped
over congo beats towards the boys from McKinley
wearing pomade ducktails and tailored shirts.
Acknowledges them with a smirk, one arm around her
and the other raised high, a king over his court.
A good time, a lifetime, but there were also

accusations over lunch breaks, How come you no answer
da phone when I call? Every smile a threat
Why he looking at you- you fucken whore.
Stay home, shit- but baby needs
diapers and the electric is two months late
A difficult time, a lifetime, cutting him at all sides

No good Filipino boy- yeah da truck driva
fo Love’s Bakery- get dat nice looking hapa girl,
What she doing wit him? Too bad yeah.
Rusty nails through his shoe

He goes out to the rainy porch now, lights another
Marlboro. Glimpses her smile in the smoke
curling back in the wind. Takes another drag,
feels his tumor grow.

Talk story

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