Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Alex's Restaurant

Image by Alex Shapiro

Alex's Restaurant

I’m stunned by the feeding frenzies
that take place every day in front of me.
I’ve seen large, whole, live
orange Dungeness crabs haplessly
carried through the air by
a single tad-too-slow crustacean leg
clamped in the beak of a lucky seagull,
as both creatures in turn
were closely chased
by a multitude of frantic,
ravenous sea birds and hawks.

I’ve watch countless Great Blue Herons,
Kingfishers and cormorants
standing in the tide pools,
quickly ducking their heads
and coming up time and time again
with wriggling, eel-like gunnel fish
whose slimy green curling smoothness
still can’t elude their predator’s hunger.

And a most indelible moment
just a few weeks ago:
the sight of a bald eagle flying low
and straight-on toward my desk,
with a thick, pink, three-foot long
octopus tentacle dangling down
from its massive yellow talons,
limply gliding through the air,
looking something like a mid-air
refueling effort gone terribly wrong.
A flock of gulls screamed as they raced
to snatch stretchy bites of this
fly-through fast food offering,
but the eagle out paced them.
This time.

Today’s drama was played out when another
unfortunate local octopus landed in the jaws
of an enormous Steller Sea Lion;
Thrashing! Diving! Sudden resurfacing!
Attack gulls shrieking with joy,
scavenging what they can!
Tentacles, suction cups and flippers akimbo!
Water everywhere!
Razor sharp sea mammal teeth! Ouch!
It’s completely riveting to watch
these life and death struggles,
loud and messy.

Alex Shapiro

Posted over on her site Notes From the Kelp
1. Poetic prose by Alex Shapiro
2. Line breaks by Glenn Buttkus

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