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AM Apr 2016
was it the ocean waves calling?
or was it your heart beating?
was it the little ***** tingling?
or was it your fingers tickling?
but it didn't matter which was it
cause I fell in love with them all
JR Rhine Mar 2016
I declare my home to be tucked within the wreathed *****
of the Blue Ridge Mountains,
where I know them as my silent guardians
watching over me;

til I taste saltwater on my tongue,
and find my taste buds alight
with the spread of steaming Blue *****--
doused aplenty in Old Bay--
spread atop disheveled newspaper on the kitchen table.

Suddenly, water becomes "wooter,"
and wash becomes "warsh,"
and I laugh and skip rocks along the waters
that baptized me in my infancy.

That is, until the Old North State
wraps me in her misty shawl,
where I find myself barefoot on grassy acres--
wild dogs running in packs amiably--
and I race makeshift boats of sticks and water bottles
down the ole crik.

I close my eyes and feel faint and brisk breezes
caress my face like a mother's hand,
gently guiding me through dense woods
where imagination and reality forged an alliance.

So where do I call home?
Well that's entirely up to you,
whether you send my head into an ear-popping,
mind-whirling dizzy spell--
euphoric in higher elevations and getting lost in the foliage;
or you put a plate of steaming ***** before me with saltwater kisses on your lips.

I am the Oriole of the Blue Ridge,
and the Cardinal of the Chesapeake:
The White Oak and the Longleaf Pine.
Born in Maryland, raised in North Carolina: We aren't always born in one place.
Grabbing *****
in the New Jersey sand
demands quick hands.
Creeping deep
they dig down under


from the wind
in their seldom seen shells,
but my brother has a shovel
and can ****** them
even in the midst of sea foam
from small waves climbing the shore.

And at cousin Barb’s pond
Our hands swipe swiftly,
But stealthily enough
In brisk Michigan winds
to grasp and capture
the frogs lingering
near the edges.

Hardest to catch though
are cicadas
in our back yard
hiding in the trees
calling out to play.
My brother and I,
ages 8 and 10
cast our fingers
and clench only their wings
enough to fill two milk jugs.

— The End —