every summer, the ocean calls

Art by Yoni Perla

Writing by Mia Yang

you are water-born, we all are 
our fate was never to be chained 
rather to float, adrift 
yet (inevitably) your two legs grow and you totter around on land until you hear nothing but your own
blood rushing when you lift a conch shell to your ear  
not the gentle waves crashing 
nor the mournful siren calling you home

in the summer, pool season 
chlorine dulls the senses yet tugs at you with unfettered joy 
when you swim, you feel (are) unstoppable 
but: diving off the springboard and sputtering as water fills your nose, your mouth,
you’re laughing, you’re crying 
–is still a poor substitute while you belong to solid ground, are held captive to it

a blink, though, and you can be unmoored (again) 
not fighting against the tide, simply swimming with it 
you are not powerful, nor powerless 
waves crashing over you, around you, 
taking a piece of you to spread far and wide and away 
but never dragging you under

or, standing ashore, feet disappearing into sand 
that piece of you, missing for so long, reappeared 
only a fleeting feeling 
like the sea breeze filling your lungs with salt and still so freeing 

we are all born from the water 
and she smiles and weeps and rages while you cannot see her 
but she is always there, tempest and calm 
waiting and flowing and returning to shore

home is always there – to be found, lost, and found again