Off the Road to Hana

By on Jul 16, 2017 in Poetry


Vivid photo of Hana, Hawaii

for Angela Humphreys Staley 1965-2016


Last summer the doctors found
a gray smudge on her lung
and I found the clouds
puffy at the edges like scabs
after swimming all day in the lake.

And I know scabs aren’t the color of clouds,
but how lucky I was
weightless with my wife
floating in the lake
trading words for clouds.

I can keep you in perfect peace
as you stay close to Me
underlined in her bible,
lightly the word funeral
in the margin.
She was headed all the way back
to the initial breath
like a bubble in reverse.

My brother called to say
he unplugged her life support.
I blew some sad, small words
into the phone
and was barfing
in the yellow grass
before I hung up.

A month later in Hawaii
they stood by the ocean
off the road to Hana
where the wind for a second
wore her ashes in silhouette.


Tim Staley was born in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1975. He completed a Poetry MFA from New Mexico State University in 2004. He serves as publisher of Grandma Moses Press. His first full-length poetry collection, Lost On My Own Street, was released by Pski’s Porch Publishing in 2016. His newest chapbook, The Most Honest Syllable Is Shhh, is forthcoming from Night Ballet Press. Journal publications include Border Senses, Canary, Chiron Review, Circumference, Coe Review, RHINO and Sin Fronteras. He lives with his wife and daughter in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Find him online at