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Eric Paul Shaffer

Lovers on Pulehu Road, Between the Sugar Mill and the Maui County Dump

His beat-up green pickup faces Haleakala, her thrashed
Celica toward K-Mart, on the shoulder of Pulehu Road. The lovers
stand in roadside mud, arms encircling

each other, gazing over a field of sugar cane at two boiling columns
of smoke rising from the mill. They stand too close to be casual,

toes dirtied where they hang over the slipper's edge.
The afternoon reveals they should not be here, should not be
together, that only half their hearts attempt

to conceal their meeting. I drive past, but they do not look over,
knowing everyone on the island knows everyone else.

Not wanting to see themselves seen, their heads remain turned away.
My windows are down, and the stink of the dump rattles
white plastic bags tangled in kiawe trees.

I'm glad they let me pass without a glance. I don't want to know
whose wife she is or who his children are

or recognize a Safeway cashier or a meter-reader for Maui Electric.
My mirror shows unmoved lovers embracing
beneath ragged, windy limbs as trash cartwheels across the road.

They know the road to the dump is far too public
for a lover's lane, and they have not forgotten their families

and their friends drive this red-stained, two-lane blacktop
to throw away what they no longer want, what they have used
beyond use, and all the many things they have broken.

Submitted: Tuesday, July 05, 2005

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Comments about this poem (Lovers on Pulehu Road, Between the Sugar Mill and the Maui County Dump by Eric Paul Shaffer )

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  • Rookie Leigh Mia (7/9/2005 9:49:00 AM)

    AH! ! I love this one, love love love it. The imagery is fabulous, I feel like I have seen those lovers before.. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 150 Points Poetry Hound (7/6/2005 2:06:00 AM)

    This is a terrific poem, full of tension and control. It builds nicely to a stong ending. Bravo. Best poem of the day. (Report) Reply

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