poetry Poisoned Water
By Philip C. Kolin
Water worldwide is dying of pollution.
A river once used as a kitchen is now a toilet.
A stream that was a playground is a morgue.
Mothers in the Congo walk twelve miles
to bring back a brimming bucket of
uncertified water, and the trip back is double
that distance. That distance is an inferno
of gnawing air—mosquitoes, fleas, leeches
biting every step.
Dirty water abounds in the Great Lake State.
The rusty-throated children of Flint, MI
have to chew their words, picking toxic
particles out of their mouths after drinking
from the Flint River. All because some portly
bureaucrat forget to get the lead out but now
reclines in infamy, his Brita working nicely.
Foul water from ancient pumps forced
Jackson, MS to be on bottled water support.
A resident remarked that if the water did not
kill you, the chemicals in the hard plastic would.
Our DNA is being flushed away by
burgeoning industrial pollutants.
Sadly, like other countries, America's
arteries have become blighted rivers.
Philip C. Kolin is the Distinguished Professor of English Emeritus and
Editor Emeritus of the Southern Quarterly at the Univ. of Southern Mississippi.
His most recent book of poems is Mapping Trauma: Poems about Black
History (Chicago: Third World Press, 2023).