I exit south
and try to drive
the remote road
off 80
to Iosepa

not that there
is much there
mostly a story

of Hawaiians, converted
who came, Mormons,
to Utah
from Salt Lake

an incongruous marker
of a Polynesian
king or warrior
in a helmet
and a lone mountain
that oddly
looks like him

a limestone slab
carved with palm trees, sea turtles, and sharks
and a welcome sign
Aloha Iosepa
tropical blue
against the Utah sky and mountains
(outrigger canoe dark in the oncoming wave)

how did they manage
building a fish tank
leprosy, a graveyard
and a return
to an island
where Latter Day Saints
have built a temple

this is the kind
of thing
I really like
somewhere they ought not
to be
and consequences

but I’ve been alone
for a week
and need to recover
from vastness
turn back and head
for a hotel–
T.V., room service, a bed–
at the Salt Lake City airport.

Miriam Sagan is the author of twenty-five books, including the poetry collection Map of the Post (University of New Mexico Press). She founded and directs the creative writing program at Santa Fe Community College. Her blog is Miriam’s Well ( In 2010, she won the Santa Fe Mayor’s award for Excellence in the Arts.