The last ten miles are the ones. Climb into a cab at the airport, windows open to the trades and head east on the H-1. At first the car lots and industrials, but soon downtown on the right, Punchbowl coming up on the left. Tumble-down cottages with jalousies, the wind-broken palms, condos lined up and stacked in the distance like beer glasses on a back-bar. Right onto Kapahulu, the Safeway and Uncle Bo's, the golf course, the fire station and public library, the Ala Wai, kids screaming the lawns at Thomas Jefferson Elementary, the zoo, the seared brown (sometimes green) crenulated slopes of Diamond Head looming above, and all the while, as you drop your bags and walk the last two blocks until you hit sand between your toes and splash those first steps into the edge of this Pacific, the rising swell beneath you like a surfer, inside you too, that you have been carried back, at last, home.

Jack Balas, 2020; HOMECOMING (#1982); India ink on paper, 30x22 inches.