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Snorkeling with Jesus

Keawakapu Beach, Kihei, Maui 

by Carolyn Martin

Don’t even think of it! Walking on waves

without a paddleboard is embarrassing.

Anyway, we’ve agreed it’s your undercover day.


Over here. Let’s settle in the shade of this plumeria.

After years at the Jersey shore, I’ve learned

a careless burn isn’t worth a tan’s vanity.


If you hand me your mask, I’ll show you

how to avoid fogging up. A drop of “Spit” swished

around each lens will clear the visibility.


Wait! Before you put it on, tuck your hair

behind your ears. Don’t miss any flighty strand.

You want it sealed tight so water won’t sneak in.


Now fit the snorkel in your mouth and breath.

Yes, it sounds weird and, beneath the waves,

acoustics will be even more intense. But focusing


on breath will help you meditate as angels, tangs,

unicorns, butterflies, and – I’m showing off –

humuhumunukunukuapua’as go swimming by.        


No, no! Don’t put fins on yet. Wait until you’re floating

in the waves. See that guy who pulled his on

onshore? Another drunken crab scuttling in reverse.


A wetsuit? Are you kidding me?

Boss Frog’s is three miles away and I’ve checked:

Maui’s water is as warm as Galilee’s.


You’re right. The graying coral is disheartening.

Some fish boycott the reefs and locals blame

chemicals lushing-up miles of golf course greens.


No … it’s not a good idea to annihilate country clubs.

Tourism would take a hit. Besides, eco-scientists

are working to solve the problem without violence.


One more thing before we head out: 

if you should see a turtle entangled

in fishing line – I cried last week


when several struggled by ­– wave your hands,

say a prayer, do whatever you need to do to set it free.

Today I’ll grant you one miracle.

From associate professor of English to management trainer to retiree, Carolyn Martin has published poems in journals throughout North America and the UK. Her fourth collection, A Penchant for Masquerades, was released by Unsolicited Press in 2019. Find out more about Carolyn at

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June 2019

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