Return to Florida – by Amanda Valerie Judd

The airport’s automated doors slide open
inviting me into paradise;
moist air encompasses me –
a warm, damp blanket;

My brittle Minnesota skin sucks
in the hydration like an ill-mannered child
slurping his soup;

The balmy night welcomes me
like the prodigal son
finally returning to the fold;

Sand beneath me molds
to the contours of my feet,
rising up between my toes,
becoming one with me;

The expensive, fruity drink,
a much-needed tonic to my soul –
its colorful umbrella winking
like an old friend who knows my secrets;

The snap of the crab leg,
slide of the meat, morsel dropping into
my mouth – all moves to a dance my
hand remembers well;

Hot sun caressing my body –
a long-lost lover
rediscovering every inch;

The surf beckoning to me,
again and again, until I submit,
waves whispering the secrets
of the Gods in my ear –
the tiniest of shells
their telegram;

The sea breeze kisses me
as it rushes past,
reminding me of dreams unfulfilled;

A pelican lands on the pier next to me,
and feels like a sign –
Florida is glad to finally have me
back in her arms.

Amanda V. JuddAmanda Valerie Judd has an AFA in Creative Writing from Normandale Community College. In 2020, she was the winner of the Patsy Lea Core Prize for Poetry. In 2021, her poem, “My Only Label” was nominated for “Best of the Net 2021.” Her work has recently been published in Trouvaille Review, Prospectus, and the anthologies, Talking Stick 30 and NoVA Bards 2021.