New Hyde Park, NY
2021, Junior, Poetry & Spoken Word
look at the water, how it hastens on
journeys seemingly easy, lulled
on the gentle slope towards the sea.
our water comes from someone else
and another’s water once came to you,
but it first must flow in between.
what if there was infection upstream,
fertilizers coating unknowing lawns,
trash someone threw onto the street,
sewers leaking poison. one can dream
of the water brushing up the disease
and bringing it down, to you and me.
look at the water, dragged by gravity
upon land allegedly pure, but hushed
by the unlawful pollution it sweeps
from pavements, the water swallows
whatever venom we deign to feed.
groundwater cradles last salvation,
yet we paved over where water seeps.
the soil may filter the poison clean
yet more runoff is brought to sea.
how we kill the animals who drink
the clean water we butchered, each
soul who will quench their thirst
to find grief in the air they breathe—
oblivious genocide. we’re the victims
and also at fault, why can’t we see?
it begs you to grasp the death it eats
as it trickles across our communities
cromulent words of an elysian future
nefarious lies mean ephemeral felicity
the water’s waiting for an epiphany
for us to know what once shone pristine
is now a wound that remains bleeding,
lest we start to act—not an i, but a we
rise for our home and ourselves, if only…
we look at the water, ear-piercingly silent
how it pleads not for our hands to waste,
nor our futures to drain and children to weep
but for our eyes to see, mouths to speak
for our minds to know what befalls the sea,
what will befall the water we need.
Where I live, the only source of freshwater for daily use and drinking is from groundwater aquifers. After studying Earth Science in school, I’ve become more exposed to the true danger that awaits the water my city relies on, as well as the entire world, if inaction continues. I’ve also studied watersheds, and how they connect all of us; what another does upstream will affect you, and what you do will affect someone downstream from you—a cycle that is deteriorating because of the contaminants that churn with the tides. With the pollution and increase in chemicals that is gradually permeating the aquifers where I live, I've become worried for my community, the one water source we rely on, and other communities with the same concerns. Thus, I’ve felt inspired to create and write something in hopes to truly show exactly how much future generations rely on water, and that our exploits in wreaking what we, and other organisms we share this planet with, need to survive will only harm our sustenance even more. In this poem, I included a uniform rhyme sound to represent how although currently the fight for environmental equity is needed, should nothing be done, in the future when the rivers run murky and freshwater across the world dwindles, every human is at equal risk. Since I was young, I’ve written articles advocating for our Earth’s protection, and I will continue to do so through my writing, as well as promote small but effective water-conserving and recycling measures throughout my community. We are the aggressors, and in being so, we are also the victims. It takes awareness to create more heroes on this planet, which everyone has the potential to be. As the oceans physically rise, and as the ocean’s voice calling for help rises, we must rise to answer it with our own voice of change.