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The Squirrels of Candlestick Point
by Elsa Fernandez
Bone white filaments of fog
hang over lonely grey bay waters.
Seabirds fly high on air currents,
as winds howl over Candlestick Point,
and icy echoes curl through the air.
42 years of ball games played here.
Loyal fans braved freezing winds
with blankets and hot chocolate.
Where flyballs on erratic trajectories
painfully eluded fielders.
South Basin curves along the
slender strand of Jack Rabbit Beach--
hesitant wavelets break on the sand,
as kiteboarders launch off, catching
the winds of the Flyway Migration Route.
We sit on picnic tables to talk--
suddenly startled, as undulating rows
of furry twitching heads shoot up,
bobbing around like Whack-A-Mole
at Pier 39's amusement arcade.
California Grey Squirrels,
eyes, beady as brown Aggies.
Usually arboreal rodents, they've settled
into underground networks of burrows,
where rangers estimate hundreds live.
They swing around the pickleweeds
to high-wire over the manzanitas.
Unafraid of humans or canines,
these battalions only fear jackrabbits
and burrowing owls at Sunrise Point.
An old man forages for green
pickleweed stalks that resemble
overweight asparagus spears.
He remembers that evening in 1989,
the terrifying 15 seconds of Loma Prieta.
Nothing remains. A stadium demolished.
The long-billed curlews have left.
Now windsurfers slalom the waves.
Lucky fishermen pull in striped bass,
and squirrels dominate the park.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elsa Fernandez grew up in Asia. She has lived in San Francisco since 1970 and never gets tired of this lovely city. She has travelled the world and still gets excited flying back home and to finally land at SFO. Her family is scattered around the world—India, Australia, Dubai, England, Ireland and Argentina. She is a political junkie and majored in Journalism and Political Science. She loves music and plays the piano quite well (one of her dreams was to own a piano bar in upcountry Maui . . . she would probably call it the Maui Moon!). Writing poetry is an emotional outlet for her.
Other works in this issue:
Her Only Son
Bay Area Neighborhoods
The Bayview District of San Francisco
Book Review - Dreams and Blessings - Six Visionary Poets