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ISLAND GIRL

On the cover of the Royal Hawaiian
Shopping Center brochure,
a girl wears a crown of plumeria
tilted slightly forward -
grazes the top of her eyebrows.
Straight black hair
frames her airbrushed face.

the photo shoot,
in the photographer's backyard,
Bach's Air in the Key of G
floats over tripods and wardrobe racks.
Silver umbrellas filter ten o'clock sunlight.
She wears plaid boxer shorts
beneath a borrowed red pareau.
Between costume changes she studies
prerequisite world history 151, while
the stylist retouches her blush,
reapplies glue to an uncooperative eyelash.

The girl's features are not Asian,
Caucasian, or Pacific Islander.
More like the "other" on a census form.
A face without allegiance to one ethnicity,
ad agency exotic: one print hits
more than two market targets.

After the photo shoot,
she catches the number 47, Waikiki
gets off at the coffee shop
between Kalakaua Avenue and Lewers Street.
She enters the women's restroom
before the dinner rush,
changes in to a kapa-print uniform to
greet three hundred guests, two to six at a time.
She hands each person a dinner menu
printed in English and Japanese.

Tonight's special --
Try our authentic Hawaiian Pineapple Boat
when you order a Porter House steak with
French fries or rice.
Behind the cashier's counter she
slips coupons inside cocktail menus;
One free continental breakfast
with every twenty-five dollar purchase.

Lisa Linn Kanae, 1991