Grunion Fishing

by Ed Higgins

         “Of course, most of the things I look back on fondly I never actually experienced.”  —Jon Favreau


As spilled on a sandy Corona del Mar beach

both in moonlight and starlight so lovely

and strangely sad as if receding still

on the waves there in lost time or no time at all

except for nostalgia now, or as it actually happened maybe

those flickerings of pale silver on thousands of grunion

making the whole surf-pounded beach alive

with the magic incandescence of slender wriggling fish.


And we two once waiting under bluish moonlight at high tide

that long summer's night ago while giddy in the crashing waves

with scooping up whole handfuls of slippery small fish

into buckets bright with overflowing moon.


Using flashlights so as not to scare the fish

watching the female arching her body

as her tail sinks deep into the fluid sand

while the male curls around her

milt flowing down her silvery sides and belly

fertilizing buried eggs beneath.


Then later wrapped in one another's arms

listening to the sound of ourselves

pounding in our veins as the waves recede.


Overwhelmed ever after by the ability to catch

starlight's incandescence ourselves:

far-traveling light and flecks of photon stars

which must stay momentarily or forever in the mind.


All beneath the spawning of that bright above us sky

on a warm California beach.