My eye latches on to
nonliquid movement in the waves,
breaking up the pattern
of the tide’s push and pull.
His dark fin flaps
as if waving
for help, or hello,
I cannot tell.
He is small.
The waves overpower him.
His strokes are futile;
my hands are clenched.
He nears the rocks and I
go closer.

His little mouth gasps;
I hold my breath.
The baby sea lion
pulls himself up on a large rock.
Skillfully, he waddles his way
up its steep side
away from the waves,
and I am proud.
He rests,
gathering warmth.
His weary face is so tiny,
cat-sized, but dog-natured.

I ache to help him,
to guard him, to feed him,
to cradle his slick, malleable body
in my arms.
I make the mistake
of coming too close.
He hurls himself off the rock
and again battles the tide.
I curse my selfish caring.
Poor baby, so small.

I am my mother now.
I know now why her heart
cannot leave me all alone.
I know now why she buys me
too many sweaters,
leaves my childhood room the same—
I know now how she pains
to come close, but not too close.
I know why her eyes are tired.

He resurfaces, farther.
He finds a new rock.
I leave him be.
I pray he’s warm enough.


Writer: An English major emphasizing in Creative Writing, Katelyn Hall is in her final semester at Fullerton College. She plans to continue studying creative writing after transferring. She dedicates this poem to her mother.

Artist: Lin Greene has been excited about photography since childhood, leading to many blurry pictures on his parent’s film cameras. After learning how to use digital cameras from blogs, he is now enhancing his techniques at Cypress College under Professor Gregory Rager.




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