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This night all of San Pedro's on the beach — bus drivers,
druggists, fishing boat captains, teachers, kids —
squirming toes in go-aheads, scabbed knees in shorts.
Families, all my friends, toasting marshmallows
over fire pits, waiting for the tide's flash.
The grunion run is due this large moon midnight.
The tiny fish will rise out of sand, buried loot
we can grab handfuls of and stuff into pails.
Shirley says it's a big joke, like hunting snark.
Jerry says grunion are poisonous. Parents talk and drink,
the fires sink. We squeal and push each other
in and out of water's lace. Adults talk of leaving,
but then a shout rises down the beach
and breathing holes appear beneath our toes.
Grunion! We run to surf's flowering,
scoop squirming silver sickles up, small fish
that writhe and make rackets in our buckets.
A flickering red glow along the waves
means Red Tide soon, no swimming.
But tonight it's all silver fireworks,
sea-spewed treasure for the taking
and we jump to get rich quick.

      — Rachel Dacus