afore

The summer after I finished the internship, I took a position in Virginia

and told myself I couldn’t wait for something to open up

around home, which was neither true nor accurate.

(By then, I didn’t have a home–just a place where I slept at night.)

It took a week to get my bearings–to figure out my commute,

judge the local places, maybe find kindred spirits.

At quitting time the third Friday, I drove east, winding along back roads between

the Rappahannock and York Rivers.

I parked where the pavement ended, took off my socks and shoes,

and walked over small dunes to reach the water.

The Chesapeake Bay was vast and cold, but when I closed

my eyes, I was young again.

The ocean was infinite and we could be anything we wanted

I didn’t think about the eastern shore on the other side,

the last division between the known and possibility.

The sun was behind me as I traced the horizon’s blue line north and south,

and everything was quiet.

I stood there for a while, the cold water lapping against my shins.

I watched the dark blue water and wondered what could

happen in the years ahead.

It was a long time before I found home again, and it changed

locations a few times.

A few thousand days later, I turned the glass inward.

I had been walking in the wrong direction.

The drive takes a little longer now, and I don’t always

know where the winding roads lead.

Every weekend I die and am born again.

I stand there and close my eyes while everything goes quiet.

The ocean is limitless again.

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