Fiction | July 24, 2012
The Queen of Pacific Tides
Ten years ago today my father went overboard in a stern trawler fifty miles offshore, and I’m headed down to the breakers for an omen. It’s early morning, and the clouds are cutting strips of the Pacific clean silver when I slip down the bluffs to the beach. It’s a steep path, lined with ferns and trillium that bloom purple and white. The shore is dotted with the last of the night smelters hauling their loads into rust-checkered pickups. The waves are out with the tide, leaving traces of foam on the shore like a comb over wet hair. The Eureka Fish Company lurks on the horizon, jutting out on barnacled pilings into the Pacific like an old ship on stilts, the aluminum roof reflecting patches of early light. Here, the stink and rot of the cannery fades into tufts of sea-spray. I can see our fleet of purse seiners, trollers and old-time squid jiggers in the docks, idle and giant. From this distance, most people would mistake the cannery for the flotsam of development hanging over the ocean, an eyesore of industry, but to me it’s more than just fish scales and mung. It’s got a berth that holds vats of cod and the pulse of Eureka in its floors. Made of dusty redwood planks that creak in the tides, it’s home: our airless, two-bedroom apartment saddles the scaling room. It’s where Mama keeps the books and where, above a shipment of herring and sea bass, I was born.
The full text of this story is not currently available online.
If you are a student, faculty member, or staff member at an institution whose library subscribes to Project Muse, you can read this piece and the full archives of the Missouri Review for free. Check this list to see if your library is a Project Muse subscriber.
Want to read more?Subscribe Today
SEE THE ISSUE
Aug 19 2021
The Body Was There
The Body Was There Shakarean Hutchinson Six months later she was pregnant. The curves of her hips opened up; her breast grew heavy. The blue cotton dress, the dye fading
Aug 19 2021
The Burial Samantha Xiao Cody In the days after Mr. Huang was arrested for killing his son, we began seeing the dog everywhere. The Huang house was swarmed with reporters
Aug 19 2021
Heart-Scalded Daphne Kalotay for Jude Twilight’s hazy glow, the world covered in gray lint. Viv hailed a ride and set out toward the crumbling edge of town. Though it