Gargoyle 5
cover drawing by Keith Tartler
publication date 3/18/1977


Laurie Stroblas

They are heading for home again,
those tiny coastal fish, puffed with desire.
The moon is full, spring tides are up,
the time is for spawning.
Instinct has netted them back this way
unraveling their numbers out of the ocean’s dark.
Little grumblers, they have nothing to complain.
We are cleared from the shore and press
our noses against the cool beach air.
We strain to see how they ready themselves
beyond the barricades, anointing their thousand
regal heads, poking into the sand in quiet unison.
They wriggle for one more feel of the water,
then break away and noisily swim for cover.
Soon we are allowed to return,
we who couple the beach like shards from a wreck,
sinking ankle-deep, as deep as need be,
for one quick stroll before heading home,
leaving in our minds a trace.