Meryl Natchez

Dawn in Monterey

This morning it is dark
when I hit the beach.
Black willets skitter at the edge
of black foam, seals a condensed
blackness against black water.
As I run eastward, a hint of gold
against grey, grey sand, grey sky.
By the time I turn back
color has gently returned 
to the world, the sea
a luminous pewter, the sand 
the color of sand.
And in the sheltered channel
between dock and seawall
an otter bobs
asleep on its back,
front paws clasped 
beneath its chin, the fur there
a downy brown. 
It breathes
as we breathe—
belly moving slowly in and out—
curled on the palm of the water.