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Green Flash

By Colin Campbell / March 3, 1999



Sequined with baby jellyfish as bright as diamonds

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the satin of the Pacific

undulates at dusk

to the lament of conch shells.

Groaning like fog horns,

they mourn the daily death of the sun,

perched on the edge of the ocean like a ball of molten amber,

poised to drop from our sight

and to bounce back in the morning.

The orb we see

is merely phenomenal.

The sun as noumenon has already sunk.

It belongs to Immanuel Kant,

who never wiggled his toes in the sand of Keowakapu Beach

here on Maui's southern strand

where now we stand,

close to the caroling surf

and the acrobatics of humpback whales from Alaska.

By hugging that globe with our eyes as it plunges,

we hope for a vision of spurting green,

harbinger of eventide.

Kihei Town is not Knigsberg.

The only transcendental dialectic in Hawaiian metaphysics

is found underwater,

where I zigzag the reef

in pink flippers rented from Snorkel Bob

and mirror in my motion

a butterfly fish

fluttering askew through caves of opalescent coral.