Sea Star Wasting Syndrome



Imagine a world where there were stars.

Bright and sharp as Grandma’s needle weaving her way between dusk and dawn, the eye they fly through opens to unveil a universe bigger than forever, a treasure constellation, eons of jeweled movement and ammonite stillness, one verse.

Imagine a world where the stars were destroying themselves.

Golden suns that lit earths now split as their opal feet diverge directions; they walk away from their own center; they don’t turn back. Coral-pink moons tie themselves in knots to delay the ripping of wing from heart, the spilling out of half-children like pomegranate arils to be crushed beneath the heavy grind of an unknown, un-oiled gear that contorts us from the bones outward, that converts our every star into dust like unlit wishes, unacknowledged beneath the tear-brinked surface. The golden suns and coral moons are memory; the rest around is emptiness.

Imagine a world where there were stars.


Note: This poem is inspired by everything that has crossed my path related to sea star wasting syndrome (which is admittedly nowhere near enough to be as knowledgeable as the most knowledgeable experts, who apparently are also kind of baffled. Specifically, see

Image credits in order of appearance:

By Paul Shaffner, Iringa, Tanzania –, CC BY 2.0,

3rd image was credited to Karyn Traphagen and found on


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