Thursday, December 6, 2007

Exercise Sestina

//exercise sestina


With little money left, relief flowered
when no one extended an itching palm.
She lugged her own bags “for the exercise,
to keep myself strong,” hoped that help could see
she couldn’t even tip for tap water.
She’d spent so much, now she faced the music.

Hula dancers flipped their hips to music,
no muumuus here: grass skirts, bras, and flowers.
At dusk they twirled torches by the water.
Their singing vied with rustling, blowing palms.
Ukulele notes surfed a drumming sea.
Inspired by the vigorous exercise,

she joined the free, serious-exercise
group mornings at the fort, heard the music
of birds and waves in cool shade by the sea.
She lunched at a tea room, among flowers,
while a gardener scissored grass beside palms,
jogged past jungle leaves dripping cool water.

Some homes on Diamond Head offered water,
cool hoses for sweaty exercisers,
local runners showed her under which palms.
Signs, “Welcome to Drink Water,” amused (sic)
her, and she loved the cascading flowers
that danced in the Trade Winds from off the sea.

She ran early on the sand and could see
birds on the beach, standees splashing water,
plumeria, sweetest-smelling flower.
Some runners gathered after exercise
for picnics at concerts of pop music,
invited her too to meet under palms

on a velvety slope. Shaded by palms,
the symphony played classics by the sea.
Her heart filled by Handel’s Water Music,
she sensed grace on the grass by the water.
Relaxed, soothed, she let herself exercise
generosity: gave leis of flowers.
The rustling palms, and the surging water,
sea-sound metronoming her exercise,
made music sweet as her leis of flowers.

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