A Soft Light on the McKenzie for 2024

Edward J. Kame’enui

A Soft Light on the McKenzie for 2024

The Lahaina fire is now underground

where Pele will gather it without voice.

When the wind is right and

ancient warriors have their backs to her,

she will release it again and follow its path

in her alabaster muumuu.


One hundred and thirty feet off my deck,

the McKenzie River flows a thick

milky brown carrying itself high

to the banks where the season

is green, wet, and worrisome.


In early fall, after Lahaina,

a wood carver on the salty Oregon coast

carved a pueo to specs—

a great horned  in burnt cedar dress.


The pueo now sits on a topped-off Douglas Fir

just off the deck where it sees all—

Lahaina included.

Pele would be envious of

the soft fibrous light the pueo holds

above the bulky seasonal flow

of the McKenzie.


December 15, 2023


Edward J. Kame’enui


Pele: Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes and fire

Pueo: Owl

Muumuu: A long, loose-fitting dress

Lahaina Fire: August 8, 2023