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Writing the Road to Hana

Writing the Road to Hana

It’s open season for wild boar, the driver says,
pointing out the truck half-hidden in underbrush.
No one’s in sight but he assures its rusty bed
will drip with blood before mid-morning sun.

For hours I’ve photographed ocean-pounded cliffs,
forests of bamboo, twin waterfalls; jotted down
impressions of impressions I didn’t want to lose;
mapped sites my mouth can’t wrap around like Pua’a Ka’a,
Wai’anapanapa, Haleakala.

I’ll bring these memories home and charm my friends
with native sounds to match the well-framed shots
of seven sacred pools, one black sand beach,
a stand of rainbowed eucalyptus trees.
I’ll school them on Oprah’s land-grant gift
and how a boy flew off a cliff on to the rocks below.
They’ll learn that beauty overwhelms 600 curves
and sadness drips from every flowered cross.

My plans bounce down a washboard road toward
Kīpahulu’s coast, past the church where Polynesian Christ
stands windowed in his chieftain’s robes, where Lindbergh set
his granite slab in frames of lava rock. Name. Dates.
A scripture verse. Something about wings dwelling
somewhere in the sea. I snap a shot that won’t forget.

The driver calls it’s time just as a voice not mine dictates,
A journey’s not complete until its story’s told.

Strange. No one’s near enough to say these words
or near enough to hear. Perhaps it’s just the wind playing
with ecstatic blooms or waves – fixed and unpredictable –
wedding the shore. No matter where they’re from,
I need to write them down before they’re lost
to clouding skies above the jagged sea.

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