By Thomas Piekarski
I’m a proverbial stone’s throw from the beach
where stout Portuguese harpooners used to strip
humpback and blue whales down to the bone.
I think back a few days, remember the afternoon
an aquarium coworker, quizzically mystical girl,
explained how while strolling along the bike path
that hugs the rugged Pacific Grove coast, appeared
a monstrous pod of some four hundred dolphins
that rose and dipped in unison soaring north.
That was indeed a rare scene so close to shore,
but didn’t hold a candle to what I encountered
when I checked in the next day, amazed
at the pandemonium that gripped the aquarium.
We simply couldn’t believe what we saw outside:
along a lengthy span of the Monterey peninsula
from the old wharf past Lovers Point and Carmel,
far as Point Lobos, within the turbulent surf’s
oscillating foam, gangs of ocean creatures feasted.
In the thirty years of the aquarium’s existence
nobody had ever witnessed such a phenomenon.
There were otters by the dozen frolicking in kelp.
Seals swamped ragged intertidal rocks. Ecstatic
sea lions ornked and ornked, out of control.
From the deck built above relentless breakers
we watched them gorge, in collective awe.
As if that wasn’t miraculous enough, sharing in
the merriment were countless tribes of sea birds.
The water was laden with them. Still others
dive-bombed kamikaze style. Pelican squadrons
winged just above whistling whitecaps. Grebes
bobbed and plunged. Cormorants circled. Marbled
murrelets competed with gulls for air space. Loons
joined a joyous chorus in the hearty free-for-all.
Birds and marine animals alike out of their minds
indulged a mammoth anchovy fest as they gobbled
many millions of those swirling silver slivers.
Thomas Piekarski is a former editor of the California State Poetry Quarterly. His poetry and interviews have appeared widely in literary journals internationally, including Nimrod, Portland Review, Mandala Journal, Cream City Review, Poetry Salzburg, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Boston Poetry Magazine, and Poetry Quarterly.