Issue Thirty-Four - Summer 2019

Tutka Bay Retreat

By Eric Heyne

A sucker for low tides, I walk the beach
instead of doing my homework. Abaft
a tombolo I spook a raft of ten
sea ducks that launch into two perfect
chevrons with military precision.
It’s calm in here, but white sparks leap along
the opposing shore, wind burning the huff
of whale blows into smoke on the water.

I pick up a stranded half-size blue-green
star and toss it back. Why is it lovely?
It could be a grandfather to thousands.
We will make families of asterisks.

A fat sun-star scootches through the shallows,
lilac arm-tips flopping loose in the wavelets
as if broken, the stolid center mass
keeping its course, safety orange flashing
from the valleys between twenty ridges.
A sea nettle the size of my head pulses
just often enough to stay off the rocks.
There is something about the five-armed stars,
so symmetrical and yet not, balanced
and incomplete, like poetry, like life.

This record-dry summer stacked spawned-out pinks
at the mouths of skinny, inaccessible
streams, then last week’s big rains washed them back out
to litter down-bay beaches with their bones.

Copyright 2019 Heyne