Scent of dry dirt, sage, and briny air
that Sunday at Torrey Pines,
where I held you, Peter,
on my hip, watching full sunlight
sparking on the ever-shifting
Pacific plain. You turned one yesterday.
Already your head nearly too large
for your white sun hat,
but your sight not yet precise enough
to register the geyser of vapor emerging
from a solid curve amongst the waves.
I gasped and pointed, “Look, a gray whale!”
I hope you remember,
somewhere in the deep recess
upon which our lives float,
the sheer blessedness of that day.
Once on the Pacific,
just offshore from Newport Beach,
I saw the marine gray ridge
of a blue whale’s spine.
Only sections visible at a time
as it arced slowly downward to dive
like the rotation of a gargantuan wheel.
Finally an indented plateau appeared,
and as a parting gift,
the krill-nourished giant
revealed its full fluke.
The largest animal in all the world’s history—
what I had and hadn’t seen,
only a sliver of backside glory.
Cover photo by Iswanto Arif.
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