Carnivorous Algae by Richard Stevenson

Carnivorous Algae
Richard Stevenson

It may look innocent enough:
a pond scum colony of algae
floating in a large amorphous
shape on the surface of the sea.
Amoeba-like, the colony first
surrounds its victim. Then like
a jellyfish, tiny underside stingers
nerve poison and paralyze their prey.
Tiny straws like mosquito trunks
suck up the cells’ nutrients until
the quivering cellular mass is absorbed
and the size of the algae patch grows.
Don’t want to try to swim over or through
such a patch of algae in a wet suit.
It’ll dissolve the neoprene and rubber
and start sucking on you like a teen on a shake.
Yer a protoplasmic mess of whale puke –
a greasy ambergris/ duck weed float
about to bifurcate into a bushel of leaves —
pretty as duck weed goes between toes.
You can get through such a patch
in a little runabout easily enough,
but don’t trail your hand over the side
or you’ll surely get stung and succumb.
Take a picture from the shore. Listen closely
to the quiet castanet, fucus-like popping
as it dissolves its most recent meal –
big fish or human. A million smacking lips say Mmm.


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