- Herring Cove
Word came like a quick rain— whispers, a soft knock on the warped, mossy wood some long-ago forager planed for a front door— and we emptied the dark apartments of our selves, thinking nothing of scarves, thinking of nothing but cigarettes and socks, boots and old binoculars. Past the crooked inland pines, through tufts of dune grass and driftwood pale as birch bark under early morning cloud shadow, we hurried up a sand hill— five unsteady sets of eyes— and finally stood still, breathing hard toward Herring Cove and a pod of twenty, thirty, maybe forty blue-gray bodies close enough to swim to from the shore. They played— like toddlers in a bathtub— slapping, splashing, roiling the sea into white water, breaching, arching all their ninety tons above the horizon, then lifting their flukes to gull-level in the sea-sprayed air. We said nothing. We saw whale, water, air, and each other, as if for the first time. [End Page 26]
malachi black is the author of Storm Toward Morning. An assistant professor of English and creative writing at the University of San Diego, he has received fellowships and awards from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the MacDowell Colony, the Poetry Foundation, and others.