Here, they who once built pyramids

and plotted out the stars and the planets,

bus the tables and sweep the floors for those

who flock here in droves to this now ruined beach

where turtles used to nest.


Now, in empty flattery, this once immense

and empty space is crammed

with these hotels in tributary shapes

of Chichen-Itzá and its pyramids.

I cannot atone;

but what I do is this:

in memory of turtles who

for centuries and more

had spawned here and now are gone —

chased by lights and crowds and poachers —

I build, out of the sand that is so pliable

that their shapes can easily be held there,

tiny turtles, rushing toward the sea,

replacing those the concrete palaces

have driven from these shores.