Barbara Novack


      for Mathew Lee  
In Hawaii
they give directions
Wherever you want to go,
you are told the street
They say, “If you are at King Street,
turn around.
You’ve gone too far.”
The turning around,
retracing your steps,
is part of the game of
going somewhere,
sort of circling your
before landing.
Is it, I wonder, the island sense
of you can’t really go
too, too far,
so why worry about it
is it the wry humor
of those who know versus
those who don’t
is it just the shrug
of Paradise living:
who cares anyway
since it’s all beautiful
and time, well,
it’s different here,
isn’t it?  

Oh, some bring their hurry-up with them,
but even they,
when they see the soaring surfer’s waves,
the soul-bursting sunsets,
the star-spattered night,
when they hear the symphony of swaying palms –
piccolo to oboe to bassoon –
even they sigh and smile
and slow their stride.  

And I wonder,
is there such a thing as
too far?
Until you turn around,
too far is where you go.
Too far may be the destination
you didn’t know you wanted –
and then
it is not
too far
at all.    

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