At sundown in the state of Quintana Roo,
I step out of the complex to the edge of the unbounded sea.
A state of emergency is declared,
Not for narcos but for a mass of macroalgae.
Along Mexico’s most popular beaches,
Genus sargassum covers white sand banks
Creating a thick dense boundary
Beneath my feet and the edge of the sea.
Tropical blue spreads wide and far above,
The soothing waves gently foam at the edge,
Turquoise waters sullied brown,
Residents and businesses duly fret.
I pick up a handful of this brown thing,
Tough and sticky, permeated with sand.
I shake it then look at ribbon-like fronds,
And gas-filled berry sacs that float it.
Some species spend their whole life floating,
With the current on the ocean surface flows,
Beneath it forms rafts for marine life breeding
Like turtles, crab, shrimp, and eel.
But experts bemoan its devastating impact
As vast quantities wash up on the resorts.
It decays and creates a malodorous stench,
And tourists complain it smells like rotten eggs.
The Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt
Spreads 6,000 miles, weighing 20 million tonnes.
It is the biggest blooming thing in the world,
Scientists still don’t know the reason for it.
Increased nutrients seeping into the sea
Have changed the ocean’s chemistry, maybe,
But Dr. Hu asks, who really knows?
It doesn’t look like it’s ending soon.
Sargassum demonized as natural threat,
But why not highlight its incredible benefits!
Tests have discovered its pharmacological properties
To treat cancer, dementia, with anti viral activities.
So long live sargassum, long live the bloom,
In the midst of irrational things,
I toss the clump back into the sea
Next to the lone bark drifting…