ROAD TO HANA
“I come back to where I have never been.
You arrive to join me.”
~ W.S. Merwin, “To Where We Are,” from The Moving Target”
Traveling Divorce Highway, we pass burnt-out cars, help-yourself fruit stands,
stained-glass Catholic Churches. Mountain goats, rough-coated cattle forage among scrub and lava rocks, tenaciously graze vertical hillsides.
The excursion van pulls off pot-holed road, stops at a little bakery stand near an outdoor farmer’s market. Warm, exotic, tropical fragrance seduces nerve-rattled travelers. One by one, we pay tribute to the goddess of banana bread, hand over dollar bills, receive precious plastic-wrapped bundles.
Knowing our carnal cravings, we invest in two, one of which we devour within thirty minutes,
reverently inhaling succulent chunks of steaming cake-like confection. Around us, fellow passengers can’t control sounds of mutual pleasure, experience multiple culinary orgasms
courtesy of Maui’s famous baker, Aunt Sandy.
For hours, we lurch upon rutted red volcanic mud into backcountry where old Hawaiian cowboys
live off-grid between cliff ledge and jungle. During catch-our-breath rest stops, sleek mongooses compete with roosters for lunch leftover handouts.
We admire ancient magma flows frozen in time, black sand beaches, muddy waterfalls,
wind-driven breakers. At Charles Lindbergh’s gravesite, we pet the brown horse, explore the cramped interior of a tiny, white chapel, take photographs of pet monkey headstones.
Hip joints complain from twelve hours jolting across fifty-nine one-lane bridges, through six hundred seventeen hairpin turns. Reprieve arrives as we pause along the rocky slope of an inactive, collapsed crater volcano to buy coffee, herbal soaps and various honey-based products offered by bohemian residents of an organic commune.
When we return to Lahaina, marriage intact, pinprick stars freckle purple firmament. We’ve been to another planet and back. Sickle moon floats above indigo ocean.
Jennifer Lagier owes her Italian heritage to her grandparents, Joseph Peini and Clementina Canclini. Her work appears in a variety of anthologies, ezines, and literary magazines. She taught with California Poets in the Schools, edits the Monterey Review, helps coordinate Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Recent publications: Rising Voices: Poems Toward a Social Justice Revolution, Syndic Literary Journal, and more. Her most recent books: Meditations on Seascapes and Cypress (Blue Light Press), COVID Dissonance (CyberWit), and Camille Chronicles (FutureCycle Press).