CCW Spring Contest, Winner, Poetry
La Jolla by Nicole Gulotta
At the cove a full, yellow moon
guides snorkelers into the water. They come
after dark and zip wet suits to the neck, paddle out
past low waves. Black except for their mask lights,
leaving a glow on the surface,
lit like the lure of a deep sea angler attracting its prey.
The moon poses a challenge: Can you bear
to leave this place? This place of low tides, of
wooden piers lined with fishermen tossing their lines,
waiting hours for the halibut to bite, of infinite waves
gracefully surging to shore? Tonight
we are convinced we can. At the children's pool
seals ride waves in and slide to higher ground. Sideways,
a mother watches her pup refuse to follow the trail
where her body has indented the wet sand.
Her pup emerges on a smooth rock, one black eye
notices us at the overlook. If we are too loud
the seals will not be able to sleep.
The mother lifts her fin, grooming
or showing us her body. By the car three men
are unrolling their suits and tossing them in a truck bed,
recalling the eels, sting rays hovering like a cape
above sand. You ask me if I am brave enough.
If I could float a mile out to sea in such darkness.