Blue Is My Favorite Color by Marie Cartier

All photos by Kimberly Esslinger

You can’t have the ocean without blue.

I walk at night, that’s the time of year

the grunion run, a silver school teaching us that it’s

work to populate –the small shimmer of a female screwing herself into

the sand. I wish her blue. She wooshes three thousand eggs

into the hole she’s made, her birthing room. The males circle her, and fertilize the eggs with a hug. The males leave and the female is quiet.

Then she flips and flops herself back and forth and forth and back,

side flopping to the ocean.

I wish her blue. I wish her free. I bless the eggs.

Southern California in the summer is grunion. Every

full moon, every new moon. Here we are with

the moon’s aperture open.

The silver fish stacked five deep—

a Walker Five, the aquarist says.

And all of this, all of this is to populate the world

with grunion. To take this risk to create grunion.

There are people here with nets and buckets—

that’s illegal. You are only supposed to capture them with your hands but

whole families are at the beach under a midnight sky. I want to stop them, and then again,

I don’t. I hope that what they catch, they eat.

I squat on the beach protecting a female fish in the dark.

I wish her blue. I wish her free. I wish her the next day after this night.

I squat around this one female thinking of that story of the man who turned over a turtle

on the beach and was criticized because there were hundreds of turtles on that beach

needing to be turned over and he said, I can do this one.

I squat around this female grunion and wait for her to flip flop her way back and forth

out of the hole she’s dug with her own tail; and into which she deposited her eggs.

We sit with the moon watching over us as the eggs are fertilized, the males leave,

and she valiantly wriggles her way out of the hole and tries to catch

the next wave …home.

It is so much work to populate the world.

Deep wells and we all release our eggs–whatever they are—

our eggs, our dreams when we sleep awake, our books when we write them,

our children when we birth them

our lives as we live them and we nurture them and release them into the world.

Risking everything, everything. This is what women do. This is the hard work.

The work of making the world over and over and over.

My favorite color is blue.

–Marie Cartier
California, June 2021

(Thanks to Surprise the Line Poetry Workshop
Writer’s Shadow: The Divine Feminine, with Armine Iknadossian)


Marie Cartier has a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University.  She is the author of the critically acclaimed book Baby, You Are My Religion: Women, Gay Bars, and Theology Before Stonewall (Routledge 2013). She is a senior lecturer in Gender and Women’s Studies and Queer Studies at California State University Northridge, and in Film Studies at Univ. of CA Irvine.

Categories: animals, General, Nature, Poetry

Tags: , , ,

5 replies

  1. Beautiful beautiful beautiful!
    I love the man who turned over one turtle – if each one of us – took thoughtful actions to assist nature we could learn to live in peace.

    Liked by 2 people

    here is the grunion run schedule for those in southern California who might want to come and try to see it

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this poem! It makes me think of all the very ancient fish goddesses and the life-giving quality of water. Yes – we women do remake the world over and over and it is indeed hard work. Now that you have me thinking about sacred fish and water, and all the work I’ve done over my life, now I’m going to contemplate that wonderful image in your poem about catching the next wave home after the work is done for now and what that means for me!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Such beautiful and thoughtful poetry you have been writing lately. The process is so meaningful and touching. Thanks for drawing our attention to it.

    Liked by 2 people

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