RETURN

1

slowly approaching a line
that grows from the edge of the sea
and then spreads at the harbor mouth

slowly, details emerge
and at last, some recognition
in what’s become familiar

home, or at least neighborhood
extending

attuned here, more than elsewhere

the awareness, something all your own
has happened with this place
but not knowing precisely when

in the tide
returning

2

introductions, by degrees
lapping and receding

even in six hours

Plum Island with Eric, Bill
and the baby, “Why don’t we leave our towels
down there?” rather than the crest of the dune

“you’ll see”
once the surf bubbled inches
from our possessions

or high tide covering the jetty
that shaded the sailboat venturing out

or entering a ferry on one deck
and exiting
on the return, from another

or weather

on a carefully selected
Sunday picnic, and air
optimal for swimming at the sandbar
only to have the Coast Guard
pull up in an inflatable raft with a bullhorn
“Out of the water! A storm’s coming!”
while the sky’s still cloudless but
before we reach shelter two hundred
feet away, the sun’s gone and a deluge opens

with or without hail

or the mid-afternoon ferry
through twenty-foot swells
and returning at sunset
on calm water

not that we’re friends
or have much of what you’d call
a relationship

3

miles inland, closer to the house
detecting high tide in marshes and rivers
or its absence

salt hay in cow milk

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
To see the full set of seacoast poems,
click here.

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