Eric Paul Shaffer
Lovers On Pulehu Road, Between The Sugar Mill And The Maui County Dump - Poem by Eric Paul Shaffer
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.
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