We chased unfamiliar coastlines,
crossed a continent of earth,
abandoned Northwest shorelines
like broken shells upon the beach;
drove straight ahead, towards looming Atlantic,
laid down roots in an East Coast state
without a shoreline.
But I missed my rocky beaches,
crashing waves swirling sea-spray
against wind-reddened cheeks,
breathing life into salted lungs.
So we chased the Atlantic northward,
up the coast, snaking up Route One,
a wending wave of rocky coastline.
I leaned to touch the water,
and it flowed fast from my fingers –
’til I turned, and
the Atlantic chased me up the beach,
caught me fast in its swell,
froze me in place as seafoam
lapped hungry at my heels,
swallowed ankles seasoned with brine.
My feet sunk into sand
locked between sea and shore
unable to move for fear of falling,
of being swallowed whole.
Then gentle waves released me
sopping wet against the sand
And now I feel the pull
of coastlines east and west
tides rent me from within,
saltwater sings in my veins
Does the moon love one ocean above the rest?
Is she a doting mother, to but one of her seas?
Can such a mother play favorites?
How can I?
Does her heart swell
as she pulls the hearts of all women
syncing the pulse of our blood
to the rhythm of her tide?
Does she pull the saltwater in the veins
of all mankind? Calling us home to sea?
Is she as torn as I, with love spread so thin upon the earth?
My heart swells with too much longing
for just one sea.
So here’s what happened: My chiropractor prescribed me custom-made insoles and instructed me not to get them wet. I then went on vacation in Maine, walked on the beach, and got my insoles wet. So when I got home, I told the chiropractor that it wasn’t my fault, that the Atlantic had chased me up the beach. He laughed and said “Only our resident poet would put it that way”, then suggested I write a poem around that phrase. This is the result.
I maintain a reasonably active poetry account on deviantART:
Image is “Ocean Memory” by my mother, Susan Langley, representing the blood from my palm tinting the waves.