SECOND PLACE: Following the Grunion

E. Gail Chandler

Jan 28, 2009 at 6:00 am

San Diego, 1967

A full moon dropped its gray glory 

into high-blown pewter clouds.

Fishy air and black water churned

as grunion advanced in silver waves. 


On the beach that March night,

we were like flower children

but for our straight shoulders,

our too-short hair.

We sang “Yellow Submarine”

and about President Johnson

“Waist Deep in the Big Muddy.”


A woman marine, two sailors 

and a Red Cross worker

just back, we charged the billow

waving pillowcases and gathering

the shining, spawning fish

that dropped like lemmings

onto the sand.


Our bags filled with wriggling catch,

we stood staring west, 

watched the moon on the water,

the wind keening like a piper.