My Father Dreams of Ships
by Trish Saunders

My father dreams of ancient banyan trees.
He sees ghosts in the tall temple grass,
smells rain on abandoned sugar cane.
He watches the ocean and waits.
Lately, he sees a tall ship in Honolulu Harbor,
silent and crewless, bobbing with the waves,
and my father thinks it is
there for him.

Listen, I tell him, that ship is all in your mind
but he counters, You see it too.
It’s true. I see it, pale and shifting
like Molokai sands.

My father dreams of battleships in flames,
and torpedoes flying over the Ko’olau.
He sees a young girl pin a hibiscus
behind her left ear 
as she descends the stairs.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Sunset Tides” (Hawaii) by Mike Dawson. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Trish Saunders worked as a journalist, technical writer, and caregiver for her parents before she began writing poems. She has work published or forthcoming in Blast Furnace Press, Off The Coast, Seattle Poetry Bus, Carcinogenic Poetry, and other journals. Formerly from Seattle, she lives in Honolulu, Hawaii.