2021, Junior, Poetry & Spoken Word
The water’s brown like skin that holds the baby tight.
I’m thirsty! baby cries, but mummy looks away, silent.
The fire licks the pot, for maybe it is thirsty, too.
Baby kicks and screams; baby wants water now!
Boiling water takes time; patience is necessary.
Baby cannot wait, but will have to learn.
Pot comes to a boil; a sign that it fought a battle and won.
The water smells funny, not like water always has.
But baby doesn’t know that, or maybe doesn’t care.
Mummy pours the water into a cup.
Baby holds hand out and mummy gives baby water.
Baby drinks and is thirsty no more.
My parents always told me about the hardships of growing up in Nigeria, one of them being restricted access to water. Every morning before school, it was my Mum's responsibility to fetch water for her family. It was a hard life, and my parents are immensely grateful that since their children live in America, we won't have to endure the same struggles they did. When I learned about the Flint water crisis, I was shocked. Water scarcity was supposed to be a thing that only happened in developing nations, not America. It really opened my eyes to see that water scarcity is something that anyone could experience. While writing this, I felt sympathy towards families who, for them, my poem is a reality. In my poem, the baby symbolizes the future generations that might have to live in a world that's used to drinking brown water. I was very vague on where the poem takes place to allow the reader to decide a location for themself. The thought that one day children will be used to drinking contaminated water terrifies me. I hope that we start taking better care of our waters before it's too late.