As he shuffles in, I sigh, time-worn Hawaiian hands
Healing my sciatica, when he seems to have more ailments than I
But in one light moment, I’m convinced that I’m mistaken
He leaves the area of pain, after kneading it a bit
And then as if he were one of the navigators of the Hokulea, with only stars as implements.
He manipulates my head, stretching, and pressing every nerve
instinctively knowing that my trouble lies there
I close my eyes and hear our breathing, a duet of sound
As his strong, thick fingers, like the branch of a Koa tree
press like nails of iron against the root of my problem,
Without the need of Enya, I am free as the Nene bird
He slathers and pats down liniments sent to him by the ancient healers of his craft
as if to coerce the spirit of his ancestors’ gods to heal me.
How did he know it was my head that held the secret to my pain; that the mess was an inside job?
Holistic helper, gently pummeling my scalp, muscle by muscle, I relax
My mind wanders to the Polynesian Voyaging Society, considered by government officials not in the know, to be just an earmark, not just a slim concession to a proud, royal culture, stripped of their land, their language, their hula–Auwe! Alas!
Yet, I am light as air and in that canoe, musing or praying that I am with the first Hawaiians
learning that Lomi-Lomi massage is as honorable as voyaging by moonlight
I want to see the island where Uncle Jimmy and his equally talented wife are from
Molokai, the friendly isle, where they told me, the sky is vast and low
yet closer to Heaven than anywhere else.